Legislative Committee Holds Hearing on Broadband Support

BEATRICE – Developers of high-speed communications systems told a Nebraska Legislative Committee that consistency in federal and state support is needed, to continue to provide better communication services across the state.

The Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee held a Friday hearing on support of broadband service through the federal and state universal service funds.

President and CEO of Diller Telephone Company and Diode Communications, Randy Sandman, said broadband deployment such as that through fiber-optics is crucial to bringing families to rural areas and helping businesses develop.

:14                  “fiber builds”

The company serves about 35 communities. Sandman calls broadband, “a game-changer”.  He cited the use of fiber optics by C-and-C Processing and Landmark Snacks, which employs about 100 people.

:22                  “fiber connections”

Sandman also cited the examples of Rock Creek Aquaculture’s use of broadband to develop the first shrimp farm in Nebraska…..and the new Turkey Run Farms near Odell….producing eggs for the Hybrid Turkeys Hatchery in Beatrice.  He said both utilize fiber in their communications.  Sandman says developing communications is a matter of money.

:33                  “the job done”

Mike Becker is CEO and General Manager of Hartelco, based in Hartington, Nebraska.   He told the committee that Hartington, in the northeast corner of the state, is a 100-percent fiber-optic cable community, serving 148 square miles.

:13                  “digital divide”

Becker says the higher speed communications benefits education, business, utilities, rural families and law enforcement.  He says upgrades have allowed a lot of people to work from their home.  He says his company has completed a three-phase fiber optic project that was started in 2006

:26                  “last year”

Hartington won a national “Smart Rural Community Award”, the first in Nebraska to win the award and one of only 13, in the U.S.

Becker says federal universal service fund support has been steadily declining because of Federal Communications Commission reforms.  He says the Nebraska Universal Service Fund support is also declining.

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