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. # # # #
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.
Yes. Rural customers would still be without electricity or telephones if not for government subsidy. Republicans who fight this will be mown down, as they should be.
Can you define the difference between a monopoly(Ma Bell) and an oligopoly(Baby Bells).
I'm not holding out hope for any help from anyone on rural broadband until 2005-6, when they roll out SkyBridge.
They may well look out for rual interests and ocassionally do good (my Grandfather was active with the local Grange organization), but I think he was naive about what their real objective is.
Former Vermont Legislator, Current National Grange Master Testifies on Farm and Rural Policy Before Committee on Agriculture
Montpelier, VT - (March 16, 2001)-Kermit W. Richardson, former Vermont Legislator from Orange, Vermont and current National Grange Master (President), testified today before the Vermont General Assembly Committee on Agriculture regarding the National Granges views on farm and rural policy. Citing the fourth year in a row of low farm, livestock and dairy prices, Richardson called for three basic goals to future farm and rural policy.
The first Grange goal is adoption of federal and state farm policies that encourage increased participation in the agricultural sector by the largest number of individuals and families possible. Contrary to current trends, the Grange calls for broad distribution of agricultural assets. Establishing secure financial safety nets for farmers, reducing governments role in farm management, increasing farm exports and funding voluntary conservation programs are the means to accomplishing this goal Richardson told the Committee. As an example, he rated the Northeast Dairy Compact as one of the most successful agricultural policy innovations of the last decade.
Eliminate the death tax
Eliminating the so-called death tax is a means to achieve the Granges second policy goal, the orderly transfer of family farms to the next generation. Within a decade, a majority of todays farmers will be over 65, Richardson explained. Only through death tax elimination and extending capital gains exemptions to family farms will the current farm generation be able to retire with dignity and the next generation manage and expand the resources we have invested in agriculture, Richardson declared. He also called for reauthorization of Chapter 12 bankruptcy laws in order to reorganize farm debt rather than liquidate farm assets.
Rural Quality of Life
Enhanced quality of life for rural America is the Granges third policy goal. Richardson pointed out that no matter how successful farm policy, people are not going to farm unless they have a decent quality of life. That means good schools, access to health care, safe and reliable roads and transportation, and safe communities. And finally, Richardson told the committee, regardless of the manner that we distribute government farm program payments, young people will not stay in any community that is not connected to the world through the Internet.
Richardson concluded his testimony by describing the Granges Blueprint for Rural America 2001, a ten-point policy proposal on agriculture and other rural, non-farm issues.
The National Grange is the nation's oldest general agricultural organization, founded in 1867. It has grassroots units in 3,400 local communities in 37 states, with nearly 300,000 members. Its activities include and serve farm and non-farm, rural families and communities on a wide variety of economic, educational, legislative and family issues.
Grange Leader Joins Protest Against Western Water Shut-Off
Robert Clouse, National Grange Executive Committee Chairman, took part in a community rally that drew more than 15,000 people to protest the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation decision not to supply irrigation water this summer to 1500 farmers and ranchers in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Clouse, of Orangevale, California, was actually representing the District of Colombia in the Bucket Brigade of 51 individuals representing the 50 states and the District of Colombia who each dumped a bucket of water into a dry irrigation canal to illustrate the nationwide impact and consequence of the Bureaus decision.
Under the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, the Bureau of Reclamation will allow the water that would have gone to irrigate crops and pastures in the valley this year to flow to the Pacific Ocean in order to protect the habitat of several fish species that have been found to be endangered. No one disagrees that this region of the country is suffering from the second worst drought in 100 years. The controversy comes from the decision by the federal government to place the entire burden of dealing with the low water levels on the backs of farmers and ranchers, many of whose families homesteaded the area at the encouragement of the federal government and the Bureau of Reclamation following World War I and World War II. As a result of this decision, direct and indirect economic losses to the farms, ranches and agriculturally related businesses in the Klamath River Valley could exceed $400 million this year.
Addressing the rally, Clouse stated, The National Grange recognizes that the protection of the environment and the conservation of our natural resources are vital priorities. However, the zealous pursuit of unrealistic and unnecessary environmental goals is causing severe economic damage to the farms and industries that are important to our country. And more importantly, these uncompromising environmental edicts seriously endanger out liberty. We do not believe that Americans must sacrifice their prosperity or surrender their constitutional rights in order to preserve our environment. His remarks were met with hearty applause.
The National Grange, the nations oldest rural advocacy organization with 300,000 members in 3600 grass roots organizations across 37 states, has for more than a decade petitioned Congress to amend the Endangered Species Act to restore proper perspective to the law by requiring public hearings and economic impact statements on the affected areas before a species can be listed. According to Clouse, all Americans must share the burden of preservation, not just those unfortunate enough to live in the vicinity of an endangered species.
Ok, time for you to back up your words.
I'm a friend of farmfriend who works hard in the Grange. I DO find you comment intensely interesting, however, as I have personally discovered some pretty naieve, or confused leaders of some local Granges here in the Sierra Nevada Range!!!
But that's nothing... I find in elective office some terribly naieve, or confused "leaders" who claim to be "conservative," or "Republican," or even "Libertarian!" Some of these ninnies are the most inconsistent and inconsiderate "conservatives" I've ever encountered!!!
I sincerely wish you would elaborate on and support with more references, the history of the Grange in the 1930's so we could all discuss it and maybe help farmfriend in her efforts to "re-arrange the Grange" in CA on a grassroots, or Statewide basis. I believe she will rise thru the ranks or the organization and will be a strong influence for consistent, considerate conservative principles for the future, despite any past disgressions of the 1930's.
Would you help me with that?