FCC Saves Rural Healthcare Providers from Broadband Crisis April 08, 2021
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (April 8, 2021) - Today the Federal Communications Commission waived the requirement that Rural Health Care (RHC) program applicants use the new Telecommunications Rates Database for funding years 2021 and 2022. Without the waiver, many rural healthcare providers could have seen their broadband costs triple in the next few months.
John Windhausen, executive director of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, made the following statement:
“The SHLB Coalition applauds the FCC for granting rural healthcare providers much-needed reprieve from the new and untested rates database in the Telecommunications program. The August 2019 FCC Order that created the database was well-intentioned – to ensure fiscal integrity for the program. Unfortunately, the actual rates in the database could have eliminated any funding at all for many rural healthcare providers, contrary to RHC’s very purpose. SHLB found evidence of widespread problems with the rates database, affecting 42 of the lower 48 states, that could have tripled rural healthcare providers’ average broadband costs. During a global pandemic, that’s the last thing hospitals and health clinics need. We are extremely pleased that the FCC averted disaster by postponing the database for further study.”
The SHLB Coalition previously petitioned the FCC to waive the implementation of the Rates Database on January 25, 2021.
The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, D.C. and has a diverse membership of commercial and non-commercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.