Share This Page

FCC dispute to be addressed at independent communication firm's meeting

| Saturday, June 15, 2013, 1:46 a.m.

As a follow-up to the town hall informational meeting held last spring, Laurel Highlands Total Communications will hold a meeting next week to let customers know the status of their struggles with the FCC, which will result in a slight rate increase.

“This meeting will be an update on what we discussed at our town hall meeting last May 15,” Laurel Highlands Total Communications President and CEO Jim Kail said. “We want to let the people know what is going on and what our efforts have been.”

Like other small, independent communication companies across the country, Laurel Highlands Total Communications is dealing with new regulations and restrictions that are occurring in regards to the FCC's recent Universal Service Reform, or USR.

LHTC customers' bills rose slightly last summer due to imposed regulations and restrictions and will increase another 50 cents in July.

“The large carriers are making all the money and now smaller companies are reluctant to reinvest,” Kail said. “The small companies are being crushed by the FCC's growing regulatory requirements. We are spending more and more time working on compliance filings, and as you can imagine, it's draining our limited resources and hindering our ability to serve customers.”

Kail said he plans to explain to the customers and community members at Tuesday's meeting about the USR and how it may affect the future of small communications companies.

“We give high quality service at affordable prices,” Kail said, explaining that the smaller companies were created to offer communication services to people who live in the rural areas of the country. “But they have taken out the incentive for the small companies to build in rural America. It's a complicated issue, but there needs to be reform.”

Kail said he wants to take time at the meeting to explain what the FCC is imposing on rural Americans.

“I want to let the people of this area know that this is out of control,” Kail said. “There has to be some accountability. They are imposing a whole pile of regulations on the smaller companies, and we have limited resources. What we are dealing with is a big bullying agency. There is a lot of frustration, and we are facing a steep, uphill battle.”

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Cook Township Community Center.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.