Telecom ’96 and Blowout Author Speaks


The United States is still, “A country of opportunity,” said former Senator Byron Dorgan, in his speech to the Minnesota Telecom Association in Minneapolis, today. He suggested that, as a country, we need to find ways to work together. He compared the efforts to bring broadband to rural America with the wagon train of the 1800s, where the wagon train would not move ahead if it meant leaving someone behind.

That philosophy was an inherent part of the 1996 Telecom Act. As an author of that act, Dorgan recounts how the act calls for, “Comparable service at affordable prices that includes advanced telecom services.” He pointed to the positive “network effect” of having universal deployment of telephones. In his talk, he painted a picture of the broadband network effect by sharing an anecdote of a women in rural North Dakota who runs an Internet-based, wholesale jewelry business out of her house; something that would only be possible with reliable and high-speed broadband.

Dorgan, who is from a North Dakota town of 300 people, supported rural telecom as a Senator and most recently with his work with the Save Rural Broadband coalition, expressed concern about the impact on rural broadband due to the recent direction the FCC has taken with its Connect America Fund Order.  He pointed out that companies who built facilities under the set of assumptions based on the 1996 Telecom Act could be in jeopardy based on the change of rules inherent in CAF.  He also questioned whether areas that haven’t been built, will be under these new rules.

He points out that the decisions by the FCC are, “changeable” and encouraged MTA members and other operators to continue to tell their stories to the FCC and to Congress.

Speaking of stories, ViodiTV received a bit of a scoop from Senator Dorgan, as he showed us his latest book and his first work of fiction.  Co-authored with David Hagberg, Blowout, which makes its début tomorrow, is an action-thriller that deals with Eco-terror, espionage and energy in a serious way.  Set in North Dakota, this is a timely topic about a region that is in the middle of a modern-day gold rush.

MTA Coverage brought to you by the MTA and ViodiTV.