Broadband Infrastructure Gets Boost From Rural Telehealth Service Provider
Tim Koxlien, CEO, TeleQuality Communications, Urges Senate Committee to Back ‘Robust, Universal’ Access
WASHINGTON, DC (Mar. 8, 2017) – In a statement submitted Monday to a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on improving access to infrastructure, San Antonio-based telecom and telehealth service provider Tim Koxlien urged committee members to pass legislation that would provide for “robust and universal” broadband access to help close the “digital divide” for 56 million rural Americans.
“Our overarching concern, shared with rural healthcare providers, is a rapid and ubiquitous rollout of a robust and universal broadband infrastructure that will insure direct access to telehealth service by 56 million rural Americans,” Koxlien said.
He commended the committee, chaired by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), for its support of rural broadband infrastructure expansion that is essential for telehealth services, and recognized efforts by the new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to substantially increase funding for improving access to broadband infrastructure across the United States.
While funding is flowing for broadband, the Rural Health Care (RHC) program of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund is coming up short, Koxlien said. “RHC is poised to see funding shortfalls for the first time,” he said, “due to the combination of a recent surge in funding applications, the addition of Skilled Nursing Facilities…and the $400 million funding cap that has never been increased…”
Koxlien noted early signs that the new FCC chairman intends to reduce unproductive regulations and an opening to greater competition for the delivery of broadband services. “With Chairman Pai’s increased funding and adoption of a ‘lighter touch’ with respect to regulations, progress should be rapid,” Koxlien said.
The Senate Commerce Committee will convene another hearing today at 10:00 am EST, on “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission” with a broad scope covering every aspect of the FCC and major policy issues before the Commission. Chairman Pai is expected to testify.