The man who’s in charge of a wireless phone company that serves most of the state of Iowa says the Federal Communications Commission is doing the wrong thing in proposing to cap a fund to help provide service to rural areas.
U.S. Cellular President Jack Rooney says he can’t understand why the F-C-C wouldn’t want to see wireless coverage grow in rural areas. He says it’s bad policy that will hold America back from getting the essential wireless service. Rooney says land-line-based companies will continue to be able to utilize the Universal Service Fund to make infrastructure and services available to rural areas, but wireless companies could be shut out soon if the F-C-C caps the fund.
Rooney says he thinks the members of the F-C-C board don’t comprehend that there are still places in rural America that have spotty wireless coverage. Rooney says there are a bunch of people on the F-C-C he calls "urban elites" that he says don’t understand what’s going on in rural America.
Rooney says mobility is essential in rural areas where there may not be a phone in a several mile radius. Rooney says if you go into a ditch in parts of rural Iowa, you won’t find a pay phone and will call for help with a cell phone. He says communities in rural Iowa won’t be able to attract businesses if they don’t have cellphone coverage.
Rooney’s comments come as U.S. Cellular announces they are expanding their network in north-central Iowa with new cell sites that are funded by the Universal Service Fund.