Skip to comments.Grange Supports High Speed Internet Access for Rural America
Posted on 12/11/2001 11:59:04 AM PST by farmfriend
Grange Supports High Speed Internet Access for Rural America
(Washington, DC) December 3, 2001--One hundred years ago this year, the Grange was instrumental in winning Rural Free Delivery Mail service. That legislation opened vast new opportunities for communication and commerce for millions of Americans living on our nations farms and in rural communities. Today, the Grange wants to celebrate that victory by supporting HR 1542, the Internet Freedom and Development Act of 2001, legislation that will help bring high speed Internet access to rural America.
The Grange believes that rural Americans deserve access to the same basic public and commercial services that urban Americans enjoy. Advanced telecommunications services, such as high speed internet access is one of those basic services. However, misguided government regulation is keeping those of us in rural areas from taking full advantage of E-commerce, stated Leroy Watson, National Grange Legislative Affairs Director. H.R. 1542 would help address this problem by mandating rapid deployment of high speed internet services by local phone companies to large and small communities alike. Representatives Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and John Dingell (D-MI) co-sponsored the legislation, which is commonly called the Tauzin-Dingell Bill.
Currently, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires local telephone companies to share their infrastructure with broadband competitors such as AT&T but not visa-versa. The 1996 law was enacted to prevent local telephone companies from monopolizing local voice communications. It had nothing to do with Internet services. The result is that telephone companies are discouraged from making the investment necessary to compete in the high speed Internet market. That leaves unregulated cable/broadband companies, like AT&T, virtually without competition. These companies have ignored rural America for more lucrative urban markets. According to U.S. government data, fewer than 5 percent of Americans in towns with 10,000 or fewer residents have broadband access. Only one percent of citizens have broadband access in towns of 2,500 or less.
The National Grange supports the Tauzin-Dingell Bill because it will break down the regulatory barriers preventing local telephone companies from providing broadband Internet service to their existing rural customers. The adoption of Rural Free Delivery Mail service in 1901 set the precedent for universal service, or the idea that rural Americans were entitled to receive the same level and quality of public and commercial service that people in urban areas receive. Today, the Internet Freedom and Development Act of 2001 extends that idea one step further, to include universal access to advanced telecommunications technologies to all Americans regardless of where they live. Access to broadband Internet will be as important to rural America in the 21st century as universal mail and telephone service has been in the century just completed, Watson stated.
The National Grange is the countrys oldest rural advocacy organization. It was founded in 1867. The Grange has been instrumental in passing legislation benefiting not just farmers, but all rural Americans. It focuses on the basics of rural infrastructure such as health care, education and communications. The Grange has approximately 300,000 individual members affiliated with 3,400 local, county and state Granges throughout 37 states. # # # #
Dear :(Congress person)
The National Grange, the nation's oldest general agricultural and rural public interest organization representing nearly 300,000 Grange members, strongly urges you to vote in favor of the Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001, H.R. 1542. In 1901, the Grange helped win passage of Rural Free Delivery Mail service. That legislation opened vast new opportunities for communication and commerce for millions of Americans living in our nations rural communities. Today, the Grange wants to celebrate that victory by supporting passage of H.R. 1542, legislation that will help bring high speed Internet access to rural America.
Rural Americans deserve access to the same basic public and commercial services that urban Americans enjoy. Advanced telecommunications, such as high speed internet access is one of those services. H.R. 1542 would help address this problem by mandating rapid deployment of high speed internet services by local phone companies to large and small communities alike.
Accelerated broadband deployment will serve rural communities through increased economic development and the realization of services such as distance learning and telemedicine, which are not readily available through limited dial-up (narrowband) Internet technologies.
The root of the problem is the lack of deployment of broadband supporting Internet infrastructure and services to rural areas. Although local telephone companies are well positioned to provide broadband access in rural areas by utilizing existing facilities, they are prohibited from doing so by outdated regulations designed to apply to long distance voice transmissions.
H.R. 1542 will address this problem and spur job creating, nationwide investments in broadband services and facilities throughout underserved rural and low-income areas. At the same time, it will encourage competition in broadband services, while maintaining the competitive structure of voice transmissions.
The National Grange considers the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 1542 to be a Key Vote that will be included in our 2002 voting index measuring individual members Support for Rural America. Please vote in favor of the Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001 and help prevent the Information Superhighway from bypassing our rural communities.
Leroy Watson, Legislative Director
National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry
I don't see how this is gonna help rural folks much since the phone companies will want to use existing copper lines to provide DSL, and with current technology, DSL is limited to about 5 miles from the Central Telephone switch. They sure aren't gonna want to invest in running fibreoptic to every farmhouse. That leads satellite as the only viable present alternative. It's available now..but at a steep price.
To which political party does the Grange give most of it's handouts at election time?
It doesn't seem a difficult guess.
I'll see if I can come up with a better explanation in my paper work.
No, it's my job.
They could make sure that every farm has its very own Central Office, as it desrves.
I doubt vert seriously that they'll use the fiber to the curb/house technique. It costs too much. But, there are many democrats who want to be sure that the farmers get what they "deserve."
The Grange is non-partisan. It does not support or give money to political parties.
The RBOCs have been under incredibly onerous restrictions that have been a tremendous drag on the spread of broadband and other communications technologies for far too long. This goes beyond these restrictions and into restrictions on providing video-on-demand, etc.
That distance is more like 15,000 to 18,000 feet - 3.4 Statute miles max ...
Jesse Jackson is non-partisan, too. Give me a break.
Home audio gear is now using fiber - it's amazing how quickly this sort of technology get to market and then the economies of scale kick in ...
(Sec. 3) Prohibits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and each State from regulating the rates, charges, terms or conditions for, or entry into the provision of, any high speed data service, Internet backbone service, or Internet access service, or to regulate any network element to the extent it is used in the provision of any such service. Prohibits the FCC from imposing or requiring the collection of any fee, tax, charge, or tariff upon such service. Prohibits the FCC or any State from requiring an incumbent (established) local exchange carrier to provide unbundled access to any network elements used in the provision of any high speed data service. Requires the FCC to provide unbundled access to those network elements prescribed in regulations in effect as of January 1, 1999, or as modified by a specified FCC line-sharing order.
(Sec. 4) States that an incumbent local exchange carrier shall not be required to provide unbundled access to the high frequency portion of the loop at a remote terminal. Directs the FCC and States to permit such a carrier to charge requesting carriers for such access. Prohibits either the FCC or a State from interpreting the line-sharing order to expand a local exchange carrier's obligation to provide access to any network element for line-sharing. Prohibits any network element used in the provision of high speed service from being entitled to any subsidy that is not provided on a nondiscriminatory basis to all providers of high speed data service and Internet access service. Requires all local exchange carriers that provide high speed data service, for three years after the enactment of this Act, to offer for resale any such service at wholesale rates. Preserves existing interconnection agreements.
(Sec. 5) Requires each incumbent local exchange carrier to provide: (1) Internet users with the ability to subscribe to and have access to any Internet service provider that interconnects with such carrier's high speed data service; (2) any Internet service provider with the right to acquire necessary facilities and services to facilitate such interconnection; (3) any Internet service provider with the ability to collocate equipment in order to achieve such interconnection; and (4) any provider of high speed service, Internet backbone service, or Internet access service with special access for the provision of Internet access service within a period that is no longer than the period in which such local incumbent exchange carrier provides special access to itself or any affiliate for the provision of such service.
(Sec. 6) Prohibits a Bell operating company from providing interLATA (local access and transport area) voice telecommunication service by means of the high speed data service or Internet backbone service provided by such company until it is authorized to provide interLATA services originating in an in-region State. Prohibits a Bell operating company or its affiliate from providing high speed data service or Internet backbone service in any in-region State: (1) unless it files with the Attorney General an application to provide such service; and (2) until the Attorney General either approves or fails to act on such application within 90 days.
Amends the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to require full application of the antitrust laws to all rights, obligations, powers, and remedies under such Act or the Communications Act of 1934, regardless of the progress of competition in any market.
(Sec. 7) Requires Bell operating companies and their affiliates to deploy high speed data services in each State in which such a company or affiliate is an incumbent local exchange carrier, in accordance with a specified deployment schedule. Provides forfeiture penalties for companies and affiliates failing to so comply. Requires the FCC to include in certain required annual reports an analysis of the deployment of high speed data service to underserved areas.
(Sec. 8) Authorizes the FCC to impose penalties for violations of amendments made by this Act.
Shades of Dingell-Norwood...shudder
I would not call Jesse Jackson non-partisan. He ran for office as a Democrat.
The Grange is political but non-partisan. We do not support candidates or parties. Our policies are set at the local Grange level, moving up through the system to the top. Given the fact that most of our membership is in rural areas, I'd say we lean conservative. Especially out here in the west.
In North Carolina, former Clinton Chief of Staffer Erskine Bowles returned to NC and set up something called the "Rural Prosperity Task Force" to involve leaders from all across the State to back Clinton's assertion that there was a so-called "digital divide." (What it was is another gimmick to establish a political base)
The fact of the matter is that rural areas in North Carolina already have access to the Internet, and in many remote rural areas, DSL is being provided by the Rural Cooperatives, who have been bringing advanced technologies to rural people since the 1950's.
For more information, visit the web site of www.jsitel.com (a consulting firm to the telecommunications industry), the National Telephone Cooperative Association www.ntca.org, or www.carolinalink.org, a North Carolina coalition of rural cooperatives.
Rural people in some of the most backwoods areas of North Carolina and other states can get DSL, while Verizon customers near Washington, D.C., and other major cities are still waiting.
There is a plan to deploy Low Earth Orbit satellite systems, which will address this problem. I don't know yet if they will market directly to rural residents, however.
Also, there is equipment available which allows 128 kpbs on a 120,000 (!) foot loop. Unfortunately, it has not been widely adopted.
I am surprised you did not cite the general welfare clause.
The market is not rejecting this. The market is asking for specific deregulation in exchange they will be required to upgrade central office equipment to provide high-speed access.
H.R.1542 Sponsor: Rep Tauzin, W. J. (Billy)(introduced 4/24/2001)
And just where did you get your information?
Unfortunately, the telcos have little interest in this, I'm afraid.
In theory it sounds like a good idea. But I question 1) whether the technology exists and 2) whether the Telcos can make a buck from it. What I DON'T want to see is something like the telephone charge we all now pay to support rural telephone service. Folks in the hinterlands can limp along at 44K forever before I'd support that.
The Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001 H.R. 1542
The Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001 (HR 1542) passed through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on a bipartisan 32-23 split with only minor changes to the language first introduced two years ago. The Tauzin-Dingell bill, named after its sponsors, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, R-La., and Ranking Member John Dingell, D- Mich., would:
The legislation now moves to the House floor. The Bells, supported by Tauzin, contend the current arrangements give them no incentive to invest in new, high-speed data networks because they would have to assume all the risk while being forced to let competitors benefit. The bill's key provision is opposed by the Bell's competitors, and by many lawmakers, who see it as a free ride for the Bells. Several lawmakers said the bill, as it passed, would kill competitive DSL carriers who did not own their own facilities with local connections.
The Committee adopted an amendment offered by Representatives Rush (D-IL) and Sawyer (D-OH) that would impose high-speed network deployment mileposts on Bell companies. It would require that 100% of the Bell companies' central offices have high-speed data capability deployed in five years.
Another amendment offered by Representative Stearn (R-FL) was approved which would preserve the existing interconnection agreements between Bells and their competitors (CLECS).
Finally, an amendment offered by Representative Davis (R-VA) was approved which would ensure equal access for Internet service providers.
The committee deadlocked on an amendment that would have forced the Bell companies to lease their most modern wires suitable for the fastest Internet speeds with competitors. Though the measure didn't pass, opponents noted that the deadlock of 27 to 27 suggests that it might be reconsidered when it comes to the floor for a vote by the full House.
The lead article there is on the subject, but as I mentioned, they have published many articles on the subject in recent months.
1.5 downstream/ .384 upstream is what I currently get from broadband cable and Im 2 miles outside the DSL copper wire limits in suburban Atlanta. I'd like to have DSL competitive with cable where I am, too, but not funded out of tax money.
Yes. And after virtually everyone in the country has been wired for electricity, we still have the REA. And we are all paying, every month, for the extension of phone service to rural areas.
The pet project of Commerce Committee Chariman Rep. Billy Tauzin, this bill, as pointed out often on this site, would remove the big carrot of long distance service dangled before the Bell monopolies by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to get them to open their local networks to competition.
This Bill does not remove any of the obligations imposed on the Bells by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 regarding opening of their local oops to permit competition in the provision of voice telephone exchange.
It prohibits any Bell company from marketing, billing or collecting for voice interLATA telephone service delivered over high speed, packet switching networks until the Bell company is authorized by the FCC to enter the long distance voice market.