Ernst, Baldwin introduce bill to expand broadband accessErnst, Baldwin introduce bill to expand broadband access
The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports Rural America Act would allow rural telecommunications service providers to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
November 19, 2018
U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage investment in high-speed internet and protect and expand access to broadband in our rural communities.
The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports Rural America Act would allow rural telecommunications service providers to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Specifically, this bipartisan legislation would increase the number of investors that triggers SEC public reporting requirements for rural telecommunications companies. This will save these small companies from costly SEC reporting requirements that were never intended for them.
“To compete in today’s economy, small businesses and rural communities in Iowa need access to quality broadband. The bipartisan ACCESS Rural America Act allows these businesses to focus on expanding access to broadband instead of complying with red tape,” Ernst said.
“Our bipartisan legislation provides the regulatory relief that rural service providers need to build-out high-speed broadband in small communities and continue our efforts to bring broadband access for all – no matter where you live in Wisconsin,” Baldwin said.
“We look forward to passage of this legislation so that the important work of deploying advanced broadband services that will allow rural customers to compete in the global economy can continue,” said David Byers, Chief Operating Officer at Northeast Iowa Telephone Co. in Monona, IA.
“Federal Securities and Exchange Commission registration and reporting requirements intended for larger, publicly-traded firms pose significant challenges for, and can impose substantial burdens on, smaller, locally-owned companies with limited resources,” said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.
In Coon Valley, Wisconsin, community members formed a telephone company in 1911. In return for their investment, community members received shares, which have been split among children as the original founders have died. Regulatory rules would require Coon Valley Farmers Telephone Company to register with the SEC.
“These registration costs-which are estimates to be over one million dollars-would devastate our business. Without us, Wisconsinites in our rural community would lose access to high-speed broadband. Sen. Baldwin’s bill is a common-sense measure to provide targeted regulatory relief for small businesses in Wisconsin, and it will ensure that we can continue to make investments necessary to provide our communities with broadband,” said Carol Ann Olson, General Manager if Coon Valley Farmers Telephone Company in Coon Valley, WI.
Source: Office of Sen. Jodi Ernst
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