Announcement follows years-long action from Senators to help resolve a data filing error and expand broadband access
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, and Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced that following two years of advocacy on behalf of Red River Communications, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a petition to resolve a data filing error preventing the company from receiving federal funding needed to provide high-speed internet access to rural communities in the Red River Valley.
“High-speed internet is crucial to connecting to work, school, health care, and business opportunities. But today, tens of millions of Americans do not have access to broadband, underscoring the importance of ensuring local service providers have the resources they need,” said Senator Klobuchar. “I’m proud to have worked with Senators Smith, Hoeven, and Cramer to help resolve this dispute to bring high-speed internet to rural communities in the Red River Valley. As co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, I’ll keep working to improve connectivity for Americans nationwide.”
“Access to broadband isn’t just nice, it’s essential if we’re going to build a competitive 21st century economy that works for everyone,” said Senator Smith. “Our efforts to correct this error will ensure access to reliable broadband services for communities in the Red River Valley area and help support a stronger local economy.”
“We’ve worked hard to ensure our rural communities have access to fast, reliable broadband service, which has quickly become vital for families and businesses regardless of their ZIP code,” said Senator Hoeven. “This data error would have significantly cost RRC’s customers. The new offer from the FCC is an important investment that will support a higher quality of life and stronger economy in Abercrombie and the surrounding communities.”
“I’m pleased to see this ongoing funding issue finally get resolved so rural communities in and around North Dakota have access to reliable broadband and telephone services. After a two-year saga, Red River Communications received a revised offer containing an increase of just over $13 million in support from the Federal Communications Commission,” said Senator Cramer.
"We are extremely gratified by the FCC's decision to revisit this issue and remedy a problem that would have caused Red River’s broadband subscribers to pay higher monthly bills. What began as a series of inadvertent mistakes would have directly impacted all of Red River’s customers in Minnesota and North Dakota,” said Tom Steinolfson, CEO of Red River Communications. “We are especially appreciative of the work of Senators Klobuchar, Hoeven, Smith, and Cramer on behalf of us in the southern Red River Valley to make sure broadband in the area remains affordable and accessible."
Following a data filing error in 2017, the FCC significantly reduced Red River Communications’ federal funding. This led the company to later file an emergency petition with the agency requesting adequate, accurate support. Last week, the FCC granted the petition, increasing Red River Communications’ funding from $46,116,220 over ten years to $59,290,550 over the same period – an increase of $13,174,330.
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