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Ernst Works to Protect, Expand Access to Rural Broadband

 U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is pushing bipartisan legislation to protect and expand access to high-speed internet in our rural communities and encourage investment in rural broadband.

The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports (ACCESS) Rural America Act cuts regulatory red tape on rural telecommunications service providers by allowing them to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This effort ultimately saves companies from costly SEC reporting requirements that were never intended for them.

“Access to high-speed internet and quality broadband services is crucial to families, small businesses and communities in rural Iowa,” said Senator Ernst. “And yet, our rural telecom providers are hindered by bureaucracy, making it more difficult to invest and expand broadband access. This bipartisan effort cuts that red-tape and unleashes our local telecom companies to make quality internet available in every corner of the state, and across the country.”

“On behalf of Iowa’s 120+ community-based broadband providers, we thank Senator Ernst for introducing the ACCESS Rural America Act which would provide much needed regulatory relief for many of our providers, allowing them to continue to expand their world-class services to even more Iowans,” said Dave Duncan, CEO of Iowa Communications Alliance. “We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Ernst to look for ways to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and we thank her for her long-standing efforts to cut red tape and eliminate impediments to broadband expansion in rural Iowa.”

“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. “NTCA therefore greatly appreciates the leadership of Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Joni Ernst, Kyrsten Sinema, and Kevin Cramer 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.”

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