Mapping Broadband in Western North Carolina

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Tell Pres. Obama to choose an FCC chair who is committed to solving the rural broadband crisis!

In his last three State of the Union addresses, Pres. Obama called on Congress to solve the rural broadband problem. Yet the person he chose in 2009 to lead the FCC, Julius Genachowski, talked a lot about the problem but did little to solve it.

For example, the FCC transformed the Universal Service Fund (which collects $8 billion a year from US phone subscribers) into the Connect America Fund to expand rural broadband deployment.

So far so good. But the FCC failed to update rules that restrict these subsidies to incumbent carriers like Verizon and AT&T. But the incumbents have refused the subsidies!

Meanwhile, local nonprofit networks – like MAIN and our rural electric co-ops – which have been working to bring broadband to rural America are NOT eligible for the new Connect America Fund.

Sounds crazy, right? Not when you realize that many of the top FCC officials will exit the “revolving door” to lucrative careers in the telecom industry.

So here's the message we need to send to Pres. Obama:

* Choose an FCC chair with the courage to stand up to the incumbent carriers.

* Appoint an FCC chair who will serve the public interest, not private industry.

But time is short. Corporate media have already anointed telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler as the “frontrunner” to head the FCC.

Pres. Obama needs to hear from the grassroots!

Call the White House at 202-456-1111.
202-456-6213 TTY/TTD (text-enabled for speech or hearing impaired).

Or send an e-mail:

Share this Action Alert with your friends and neighbors. Pres. Obama says he cares about rural America. It's time he heard some authentic rural voices!


Solving the rural broadband crisis requires grassroots action. Local, state, and federal authorities need to hear from you and your neighbors.

This “Take Action” section is designed to optimize your time and effort in making your voice heard.

We recommend that you write a letter or send an e-mail to your elected officials – local, state and federal – briefly describing your experience with broadband access in Western North Carolina. Be specific.

For example, how has broadband availability affected basic necessities such as making a living, accessing healthcare, or advancing your education?

Also, please review the “What Can Citizens Do?” entry in “Learn More” for a list of specific reforms.

We encourage you to cite “community-based nonprofit networks” for their potential to help solve our rural broadband deficit, just as rural co-ops brought electricity to rural America in the 1930s and 40s.

This section will also feature “Action Alerts” for time-sensitive opportunities such as congressional hearings and FCC public-comment windows.

You can receive these Action Alerts automatically in your mailbox. Just send an e-mail to: – write “Action Alert” in the subject line.

Contact Elected Officials and Key Policymakers

Use the links below to contact your:

Members of Congress

Members of the North Carolina General Assembly

Local officials, including your Economic Development Commission (EDC)

You can also file a broadband-related complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

And request assistance from NC Broadband, a project of the NC Department of Commerce.