Winning the future with wireless

Throughout Wisconsin, people depend on their mobile devices more than ever before. From day-to-day business, to keeping in touch with family and friends, to public safety, reliable wireless service is a necessity everywhere people live, work and travel.

Soon, on your mobile device you’ll be capable of making high-quality video calls, making payments, sending real-time data to your doctor or lifesaving pictures to a 9-1-1 operator. People living in urban areas will soon experience these exciting new applications, but our rural communities are in danger of being left behind.

That’s because a proposal, sponsored by landline telephone service providers and currently under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if adopted, would dramatically cut funding for rural mobile wireless networks.

Over the next decade, the proposal would lead the Universal Service Fund – established by Congress to help bring telecommunications services to rural areas – to invest $14 in outdated landline networks for every $1 invested in high-speed mobile broadband networks.

Does this imbalance make sense to anyone other than to the landline companies proposing it?
Wisconsin could potentially lose up to $208 million that could be used for new mobile wireless broadband sites and infrastructure over the next 10 years.

A recent report by Deloitte projects the creation of 15 jobs for every $1 million invested in mobile broadband. If we invested $208 million into new mobile broadband networks, up to 3,100 new jobs could be created in Wisconsin.

The FCC is making a decision soon. Make your voice heard at by urging the FCC and Congress to prioritize high-speed wireless broadband over yesterday’s landline technology.

Every investment decision we make must look to the future and make all our communities more competitive. Our country cannot afford to leave its rural towns behind.

Mary Dillon is president and CEO of U.S. Cellular Corp.

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