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Letter to the Editor

By Staff | Sep 10, 2008

For many of us, cell phones have become a necessary component of everyday life, helping us do business, stay in touch with the people who matter most to us and call for help in emergencies.

Across Iowa, public safety officers like myself depend on wireless service to respond quickly to emergency situations. We rely on cell phones to assist in search and rescue operations, address domestic violence situations, prevent criminal activity and communicate in areas where police radio is unsecure or unavailable.

That’s why a recent proposal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is so troubling to me and potentially dangerous for rural Iowa.

In smaller communities, wireless carriers cannot always justify the costs of building new cell towers. However, there is a federal program called the Universal Service Fund (USF) that helps build reliable communications networks in rural areas.

Unfortunately, the FCC placed a cap on the wireless portion of the USF earlier this year, and now proposes drastic cuts that could eliminate half the support we now receive in Iowa. Statewide, we could lose up to $30 million in annual USF support, and dozens of new cell sites would be canceled or delayed every year.

We are fast becoming a wireless nation, but there is much work to be done in Iowa to bring reliable cell phone networks to our rural areas. Cutting the USF for wireless is not a solution.

Visit www.ConnectingRuralAmerica.org to learn more and take action.

Randy Krukow