March 8, 2024

Senator Markwayne Mullin on Ensuring Small Rural Providers Thrive #Summit2024

Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) thanked ACA Connects members for their continuous work educating Congress on their efforts to bring broadband to rural America and the challenges they face.

A lifelong Oklahoman, Senator Mullin grew up on his family’s ran­­ch in Westville where he and his family still reside. As one of the only current business operators in the U.S. Senate, Mullin brings over 25 years of firsthand experience and entrepreneurial leadership to address some of the biggest issues impacting the U.S. economy and Oklahoma’s small business community. Specifically, he has led on solutions to lift financial burdens on small rural broadband providers, strengthen connectivity, and lower costs for Americans.

In his comments at ACA Connects’ #Summit2024, Senator Mullin reported that 50 percent of Oklahomans still don’t have broadband Internet.

“If it weren’t for OzarksGo, we wouldn’t have any Internet at my ranch,” said Senator Mullin. He continued: “My Internet at my ranch is stronger than in my office in Washington, DC. But not everyone has the ability to get that technology.”

Senator Mullin cited his frustrations with heavy-handed regulatory threats, including rate regulation. “You should be able to charge for the infrastructure you put in. Nothing makes sense without that,” he said. “If you were not here telling your story, I wouldn’t have known,” he added.

Mullin advised ACA Connects members to be patient in their quest for regulatory and legislative changes. “Things here move slowly. It will get fixed. The policy is sound, but sometimes the timing isn’t right,” he cautioned.

“You have to be consistently coming up here, over and over again. Understand that you are playing the long game. This may be for the future of your company as it grows. It may even be for the generation that follows behind you,” Senator Mullin added.

About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association –America’s Communications Association – ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 500 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, video, and phone services covering 31.9 million households, 7.3 million of which are located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. ACA Connects Members operate in every state, providing advanced communications to connect homes, companies, main street, schools, hospitals and more. America’s economic prosperity in smaller communities and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA Connects Members, who believe a connected nation is a prosperous nation.

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