CTA Policy Principles

The Colorado Telecommunications Association and its members believe that updating antiquated laws, rules and practices at the federal and state levels is essential to providing more and better telecommunications services to rural communities.

CTA and its members have long advocated for changes to the state’s telecommunications laws and rules that govern policy including broadband, Colorado High Cost Support Mechanism (CHCSM) and rural company regulation.

CTA’s 25 members serve a large geographic area (over 25%) of the state but a small number of customers (approximately 1.2 customers per square mile).  The cost of service is driven by distance (high cost) and density (small revenues).  CTA companies include member-owned cooperatives; family owned operations and publicly traded entities.  They serve communities like Hugo, Stoneham, Joes, Rye, South Park, Delta, Nucla, Pleasant View and Rico. Click here for map of CTA's service areas.

Federal Universal Service Funds (FUSF), CHCSM and Rural Utility Service (RUS) loans and grants have helped CTA's member’s provide our customers (residential, business, government, schools and community anchor institutions) with high quality, voice, video and data services through the construction and operation of state-of-the art multi-use networks.

CTA members serve these areas because the business plans of large national carriers generally do not justify the cost and/or return on investment to serve these areas.  While there are some cable and wireless providers that serve some of the same areas as CTA members, none provide the coverage to the extent of CTA members.

Below are rural telecom principles that CTA believes need to be considered in any legislative, regulatory or policy decisions being made at the federal, state and local levels.

CTA's General Principles:

  • CTA believes that Broadband Connectivity is an evolutionary and constantly changing dynamic based on customer demand and new technology and requires ongoing maintenance and upgrading.
  • The Business Environment for small rural carriers is based on decades old regulation, rules and attitudes and in many cases directly contradicts and inhibits expansion of telecommunications services.
  • Global Competition requires state-of-art multi-use networks that are future proof in their capability.

Broadband:

  • CTA supports re-purposing some or all of the CHCSM for broadband with specific criteria.
  • Focus on unserved areas by using the closest existing provider and leveraging existing facilities.
  • Align state laws and policies with the FCC’s broadband policy regarding minimum speeds and funding (recognizing the costs and managing expectations of coverage of download and upload speeds).
  • Prohibit state funding of government-owned networks to avoid overbuilding and duplication of existing networks (EagleNet, public-private partnerships).
  • Require applicants to provide a financial contribution for all proposals under a capital-only grant program.

Colorado High Cost Support Mechanism (CHCSM):

  • Review and modify the definition of basic local service to incent the construction, upgrading and maintenance of multi-use networks.
  • Align state cost allocation rules with the FCC’s broadband policy.
  • Develop a process for equitable application and distribution of CHCSM funding on a non-discriminatory, competitive and technology neutral basis.
Regulation of Small Rural Carriers:
  • Allow small rural carriers to obtain streamlined flexible retail regulation or opt-out of retail regulation if state funding is not provided or available.
  • If a geographic area is designated as competitive for any purpose, then all retail regulation is eliminated – it’s competitive or it’s not – it can’t be competitive and still be regulated since regulation is a substitute for competition.

CTA Policy Team

Contract Lobbyist:
Micki Hackenberger
Axiom Strategies Inc.
303-860-1616
micki@axiompolitics.com

Legal Counsel:
Richard L. Corbetta
Corbetta Law Firm
303-520-9093
rcorbetta@corbettalawfirm.com

Communications:
Bill Ray
WR Communications Inc.
303-885-1881
bill@wr-communications.com


Available now:

A rural broadband perspective for 2016

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