8:44 PM EDT
Tom Osborne, R-NE 3rd

Mr. OSBORNE. Mr. Chairman, people in my district, which is largely rural, want and need broadband services just as much as people in urban areas; yet according to a recent report, almost half of rural Nebraska communities only have one broadband Internet provider and some have none.

Without the help of the Universal Service Fund, the average Nebraskan living in a rural area would pay an additional $235 each year for telecommunications services, and this is true across the country in rural areas.

The Gutknecht-Stupak amendment would preserve FCC authority to require VoIP providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund and pay appropriate fees, just like every other service provider. This commonsense amendment is the result of numerous hearings, briefings and meetings hosted by the Rural Caucus over the last year and a half.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate their leadership and efforts on this issue. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.