Dodge County served as an important backdrop to showcase the value of the Nebraska Universal Service Fund (NUSF) this past Wednesday.
As part of an informational trip that included testifying before the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature, two nationally-recognized experts on the Federal Universal Service Fund toured the central office facilities of Great Plains Communications in North Bend. The tour included a visit to one of the company’s fiber splicing trailers and the several network distribution locations across Dodge County.
The advocates are Harold Furchtgott-Roth, former Federal Communications Commission member and key expert on the Federal Universal Service Fund, and Cheryl Parrino, former CEO of the Universal Service Administrative Company and former chair of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Furchtgott-Roth and Parrino are knowledgeable on telecommunications issues and testified on the significance of the NUSF to Nebraskans.
Established by the Nebraska Legislature in 1997 and implemented by the Public Service Commission, the NUSF provides funding under various programs for deployment and maintenance of broadband and voice services in rural areas across the state.
“As I traveled from Blair to North Bend and on to Fremont, looking out over the vast rolling farm fields with rows and rows of corn yet to be harvested and the cattle grazing along the creek beds, it emphasized for me how important universal service is to these farmers, ranchers and communities,” Parrino said. “Broadband services made possible by the NUSF provide an all-important communications link for commerce, tele-health, education, farming and ranching so that these communities and their citizens can survive and prosper.”
“Having national advocates of the Universal Service Fund visit Nebraska is an exciting and important part of ensuring the NUSF stays strong. We are happy that we could help bring these two respected minds to our state to share their knowledge,” said Casey Garrigan, a representative of Great Plains Communications.