2024 USTelecom American Connectivity Forum



USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter kicked off the American Connectivity Forum:

“Many of these critical connectivity issues are mired in bureaucratic buffering and political posturing. Broadband providers are chomping at the bit to get fiber in the ground to connect the unconnected, yet too often it’s our own government standing in the way”.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks shared his thoughts on the importance of the Affordable Connectivity Program:

“We are actively ensuring that broadband and the networks are available to every location in the United States. On affordability in particular, there has been more progress made in the last two years than there has ever been before, but we are steering of course at the very real likelihood that over 23 million households, that’s households—will lose access to the affordable connectivity program, so I’m here to say quite clearly we cannot let that happen”.

Senator Peter Welch’s (D-VT) thoughts on the importance of the Affordable Connectivity Program:

“…the Affordable Connectivity Program, which has really made a significant difference for folks on the margin. In Vermont, there’s a lot of folks who make 15 grand a year, and that’s unthinkable for anybody, but they’ve somehow made their lives work, and they want their kids to be able to do homework and that 30 bucks a month really makes a difference so we’re pushing to get…bipartisan support on that”.

Jennifer Prather CEO of Totelcom Communications and Chair, USTelecom Leadership Committee, on why experience matters when deploying broadband:

“Experience matters. I think there are a whole lot of companies doing this exact work already, and so if you can come in and have some discussions about, frankly, what won’t work, I think that experience should carry some weight. I don’t know that we’re always there”.

Jeff England, VP & CFO, Silver Star Communications, on the importance of trusting experienced providers to deploy broadband:

“To your last part about why it’s important for those that are already in those areas because there’s so much infrastructure already in place and because there are other federal programs that are there to help create a launchpad, I think you get the best value for dollar if you take advantage of some of those providers that are in the area”.

Brad Welch, COO of CentraCom shared his perspective about the possibility of customers losing connectivity if the Affordable Connectivity Program dissipates:

“the ones [customers] that were on [ACP], a good percentage of them were new customers, that were not existing customers, and the thought of losing those is pretty sad”.