Broadband

Broadband

As Co-Chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, I am fighting to ensure that our nation’s rural and unserved populations are no longer left on the sidelines, but instead gain access to key services such as telemedicine, online education, online banking, and grant and job applications that help small businesses and individuals compete in the 21st Century.

High speed broadband will revolutionize and improve the way rural populations live their lives, including the potential to expand economic opportunity and fuel our economy. As folks in urban and most suburban areas today benefit from the everyday experiences of online banking, email, or ridesharing, rural populations continue to be left on the sideline. It is essential that any federal efforts to close the digital divide focus on the truly unserved first.

While high-speed internet access is easily available in our urban areas, broadband deployment to rural communities has lagged behind. That is why I introduced the Serving Rural America Act. The legislation would create a pilot grant program at the FCC, authorizing $500 million over five years to expand broadband service to unserved areas of the country. Under the act, grants will be awarded to eligible applicants that will consist of a partnership between an internet service provider and a locality (such as a county or planning district commission). Moreover, the program prioritizes the funding to areas without 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload capabilities. The program will help bring high-speed internet to a vast number of the 19 million unserved Americans, majority of whom are in rural communities — thus, bringing them into the 21st-century economy. My Serving Rural America Act served as the model for the new NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program that authorized and appropriated $288 million for high-cost broadband construction projects, signed into law in December 2020.

Expanding access to high-speed internet is critical to economic development and growth in our nation. As America relies increasingly on technology in everyday life, I will continue to work to make sure that rural communities don’t suffer the long-term impacts of the digital divide.

As Co-Chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, I am fighting to ensure that our nation’s rural and unserved populations are no longer left on the sidelines, but instead gain access to key services such as telemedicine, online education, online banking, and grant and job applications that help […]

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