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Thune Welcomes South Dakota Business Executive to Testify on Impact of Proposed Internet Regulations

Midco SVP Tom Simmons to testify before Commerce Committee, Thune’s inaugural hearing as chairman

January 20, 2015

Washington, D.C. — 

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, welcomes South Dakotan and Senior Vice President of Public Policy at Midcontinent Communications (Midco), Tom Simmons, who will testify before the Commerce Committee tomorrow, Wednesday, January 21, at Thune’s inaugural hearing as chairman entitled, “Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action.”

“It’s fitting that as the committee holds its first hearing of the new Congress, we draw from the first-hand knowledge and success of a growing South Dakota business,” said Thune. “Mr. Simmons offers tremendous insight on the importance of protecting an open Internet and the current light touch regulatory approach that has spurred innovation. Midco is a prime example of how these policies promote infrastructure investment that benefit South Dakotans. The role of the Internet in our daily lives is going to continue to grow. It will keep revolutionizing things like transportation, health care, agriculture, and education. But heavy-handed government regulation, like that being pursued by the Federal Communication Commission, could delay or even jeopardize the next big leap in innovation. I look forward to hearing from Mr. Simmons as the committee evaluates the best path forward to protect the entrepreneurial character of the Internet and hope to draw valuable knowledge from his testimony.”

Mr. Simmons is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he serves as Senior Vice President of Public Policy for Midco and manages the public affairs, public relations, government and industry relations, and is the general spokesperson for the company. He joined Midcontinent Media, Inc., parent company of Midcontinent Communications, in 1987 as the general manager of Midcontinent’s South Dakota radio group. In 1995, Mr. Simmons joined Midco Communications, Midcontinent’s telecommunications company, as Vice President and General Manager and was given the primary task of leading the development of full service local and long distance telephone and non-traditional services on Midcontinent’s cable television/broadband infrastructure.

Last fall, PC Magazine named Midco the nation’s fastest Internet service provider. In November, Midco announced it will make gigabit speeds available by 2017 to approximately 600,000 homes and 55,000 businesses throughout South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota along a high-capacity fiber network that covers more than 7,600 miles.

Watch Thune chair his inaugural Commerce Committee hearing live tomorrow, Wednesday, January 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET, 1:30 p.m. CT, 12:30 p.m. MT online here.