The Farm Bill has been passed by the U.S. Senate this week, with a vote of 81 to 15, and by the House of Representatives, with a vote of 318 to 106. The American Cable Association (ACA) and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) are applauding the passage of the legislation.
The bill includes provisions that reform the Rural Utilities Service’s (RUS) Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, meant to ensure that loans are provided to companies seeking to provide service in areas most in need of broadband deployment.
“The unacceptable division separating rural communities without broadband access from those cities and towns with it must be closed,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka. “This bill has traveled a long road, but our hope is that it will have been worth the wait for the unserved communities throughout the country that will benefit from the increased funds and refocused attention of the broadband deployment effort.”
“We applaud the leadership of Senators Harkin and Chambliss and Representatives Peterson and Goodlatte for their hard work to gain passage of the 2008 Farm Bill,” said NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow. “This legislation sharpens the focus of the Rural Utilities Service’s Broadband Loan Program by limiting loans in areas where competition already exists, and targeting loans to areas without widespread access to broadband service. The 2008 Farm Bill represents a strong step in ensuring that government broadband deployment programs give the highest priority to areas that do not yet have access to broadband service.”
Earlier in the week, the CMC announced that it is throwing its support behind enhanced television (ETV) and tru2way services with the launch of its HITS Advanced Interactive Services (AxIS) platform (story here).
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