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Ernst Leads Bipartisan Effort to Expand Internet Access in Rural Areas

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is leading a bipartisan effort to expand access to broadband in rural areas and ease the burden of regulatory costs for smaller broadband providers that rural communities rely on.

“Due to red tape, many Iowans in rural areas still lack access to the high-speed internet and quality broadband services they need for school and work,” said Senator Ernst. “As baseless bureaucracy continues to make it more difficult to expand broadband access, I will keep pushing to cut regulations and unleash our local telecom companies on behalf of rural communities everywhere.” 

“On behalf of Iowa’s 120+ community-based broadband providers and over 150 businesses that enable high-quality broadband buildout, we strongly support Senator Ernst’s bipartisan ACCESS Rural America Act,” said Dave Duncan, CEO of Iowa Communications Alliance. “As regulatory burdens continue to increase costs and limit our ability to reach rural communities, we welcome Ernst’s action to cut red tape, reduce unnecessary requirements, and allow our providers to connect more Iowans.”

“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.  NTCA therefore greatly appreciates the leadership of Senator Ernst in introducing the ACCESS Rural America Act, which will help relieve these burdens and enable small providers to focus more on their core mission of deploying and operating advanced broadband networks in rural areas,” said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.


The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports (ACCESS) Rural America Act would provide regulatory relief to rural telecommunications service providers by allowing them to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These small companies—many of which are the sole service providers in their region—could be put out of business by looming regulatory costs. Specifically, this bipartisan legislation would increase the number of investors that trigger 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.