By David Hoover

Rural Voters Make an Impact. Will Policy Attention Follow?

The 2016 election season was a watershed moment for American politics. It was a bruising cycle that bucked traditional political norms during both the primary season and the general election. Not surprisingly, lower voter turnout was expected, but when all the votes are counted, the total tally will eclipse the high-water mark set in 2008, when more than 131 million Americans cast their ballots for either Barack Obama or John McCain.

What the Data Tell Us

Political analysts will be sifting through the exit polls and other data for some time, hoping to better understand why their projections missed the mark. However, one early finding could lead to potential benefits for attention to rural telecommunications issues on both Capitol Hill and with the new administration: Donald Trump’s winning margins in rural America ...
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By Michael Romano

How Will a Fundamentally Different FCC Tackle Telecom Policy Challenges?

From a telecom policy perspective, it is hard to imagine anything that could beat the "one-two punch" of a 2016 filled with substantial regulatory reforms and groundbreaking election results (both national and model-based support), followed by a 2017 in which the only certainty might be change itself. On the heels of a year in which the FCC took historic action to reform the Universal Service Fund (USF) that provides much needed support for rural areas served by smaller telcos, we will see a fundamentally different FCC in 2017, with the full implications of that change still to be seen.

Rural Broadband: USF Reform and More

Small telcos like those in NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association’s membership operate in the highest-cost, most sparsely populated parts of rural America. They have had to work through regulatory uncertainty, technological shifts and competitive pressures that make it harder than ever to deliver on the promise of universal service. Yet these companies have made substantial strides, becoming ever more entrepreneurial and innovative as they respond to consumer demand ...
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