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Oct 13, 2015

Tester launches #ConnectMT initiative, brings FCC Chairman to Montana

#ConnectMT will expand high-speed internet access, guarantee rural call completion, and strengthen local broadcasting

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(Great Falls, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester today brought Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to the Treasure State and launched his #ConnectMT initiative to address the connectivity challenges facing Montana's businesses, schools and families.

Tester's #ConnectMT initiative will expand high-speed internet access, guarantee rural call completion, and strengthen local broadcasting in Montana. Tester brought Wheeler to Montana to see firsthand the challenges of connecting businesses, schools and families in a rural state.

"In the 21st Century, reliable Internet access is essential for families to stay connected and for businesses to thrive," Tester said. "My Connect Montana initiative will address the rural connectivity challenges that folks are facing across our state. By expanding high-speed Internet, strengthening rural call service, and protecting local broadcasters we can keep Montana connected around the globe."
Tester and Wheeler visited Fairfield Elementary School where they are using FCC funding to expand broadband access and invest in new digital technology. They then traveled to Great Falls where they met with local business leaders, broadcasters, and toured the Great Falls Cascade County 911 Emergency Center.
Tester's #ConnectMT initiative has three components:‎

Invest in rural Internet infrastructure:
• Tester is pushing the FCC to enhance the Universal Service Fund by making it more predictable and making it available for standalone broadband service. The Universal Service Fund provides critical resources to rural broadband carriers to expand Internet access in rural areas.
• He is also sponsoring the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act that permanently bans the government from taxing access to the Internet.‎

Guarantee rural calls are completed:
• Realizing that many calls in and out of rural Montana aren't being connected, Tester is sponsoring the Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act that establishes basic standards for intermediate call providers who transmit phone calls to all areas of the U.S.

Strengthen local radio and TV stations:
• Tester is sponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act to affirm that Congress should not impose any new fees or royalties on local radio stations for broadcasting songs or other over the air content.
• As the FCC facilitates spectrum reallocation, Tester is working to minimize the impact on rural broadcasters that rely on spectrum to deliver over the air television.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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