This hearing will examine the disparities between large, nationwide carriers and small, rural carriers that contribute to the urban and rural digital divide. Rural communities depend on small carriers to provide internet and telecommunications service where nationwide providers may choose not to deploy broadband, or provide minimal service. Deploying broadband in these high-cost areas requires significant investment in capital, time, and resources. The cost of investment, coupled with challenges unique to small, rural carriers in offsetting costs creates barriers to competition and sustainability for small and rural carriers in the mobile wireless marketplace. This hearing will focus on challenges inherent in the current regulatory and operational schemes that limit the ability of small carriers to deploy broadband in rural America.
Small ISPs are essential to rural broadband in the Sierra. It will be interesting to see the results of this hearing. I will be looking for any prepared statements by witnesses:
Ms. Erin Fitzgerald
Rural Wireless Association, Inc.
Mr. Tim Donovan
Senior Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Competitive Carriers Association
Mr. Paul Carliner
Mr. Derrick Owens
Senior Vice President of Government & Industry Affairs
WTA — Advocates for Rural Broadband