Hearing on Expanding Broadband Access with Three Federal Agencies

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Washington, Jul 18, 2012 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Committee on Small Business today held a hearing appraising the role of the federal government in expanding broadband access to small businesses across the country. The Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), expressed the need to bring more access and certainty to rural and unserved areas.

“One of the most important tools the Internet offers to businesses is the ability to access the global electronic marketplace,” said Chairman Graves. “Increased access will allow more small businesses to compete and enter the global market. To grow and create jobs, small businesses need to be able to count on reliable broadband. We’ve heard from a number of carriers regarding the regulatory uncertainty in deploying broadband to new areas.  Small businesses must have stability to make decisions that last for years, which includes any investment or new jobs.”

The Committee heard testimony from the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein, and Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration Assistant Secretary Lawrence E. Strickling on the status of current broadband programs and the government’s overall strategy to expand broadband capabilities to small businesses.

Materials for the hearing are posted on the House Small Business Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Witness Quotes:

Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said, “Broadband and information technology are increasingly important to the future of small business. Broadband connectivity and online business tools enable small businesses to grow and jobs to be created anywhere, in urban markets and small rural towns. Broadband allows small businesses to market their products and reach customers in the next neighborhood, the next city, the next state, and even overseas, increasing their revenue. And broadband allows small businesses to lower their costs through cloud-based services. Increased revenue. Lower costs. More profits. More jobs.”

Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at NTIA, said, “Small businesses benefit from the Internet economy in a number of important ways. Broadband reduces geographic barriers and the costs of doing business. The Internet offers the opportunity for anyone with a connection and an innovative idea to create and grow a business. Indeed, online retail sales in the United States totaled an estimated $169 billion in 2010 alone. Just a decade ago, the companies that are now household names – Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many more – were small businesses. These innovators and countless others have used their creativity, determination, and the power of broadband to grow the Internet economy.”

Jonathan Adelstein, Administrator, USDA Rural Utilities Service, said, “With RUS financing and collaboration with other lenders, rural telecommunications companies providers are able to leverage revenue streams and collaborate to make long-term infrastructure investments and deliver services, which would not otherwise be possible. Broadband takes local markets and makes them global. Broadband can overcome the barriers of time and distance to create unparalleled business opportunities, deliver quality, affordable health care to rural residents, and help rural schools offer the most advanced physics and foreign language classes to students.”

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