WTA Expresses Concerns to USDA About Discriminating Against For-Profit Providers

Back at the end of November, WTA sent a letter to the USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small expressing its disappointment with one aspect of the application scoring criteria for ReConnect Round III that deviates from long-standing RUS practice by disadvantaging privately-owned companies.

The letter reminds the Undersecretary that RUS has never viewed small, family-owned companies as providing an inferior service to their communities or less worthy of RUS’ loans and grants and that it would be nearly impossible to distinguish between the level of commitment that WTA’s not-for-profit and for-profit member companies have for their communities, the quality and affordability of telecom services provided, and their customer service standards. The fact that RUS would make a distinction in the third round of ReConnect “is a breach of goodwill in this nearly 100-year partnership with small rural telecommunications providers.”