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, and applications that help small businesses compete in the 21st Century. Currently, almost 50% of rural Virginians either lack access to high-speed internet, while 29% don’t have any internet service at all.
High-speed broadband has the potential to 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 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.
I am leading the effort to bring unserved and underserved regions of Virginia into the digital revolution. I have hosted several Broadband Task Force meetings throughout the First District with key stakeholders from the telecommunications industry, small business, and federal government, including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, to discuss broadband expansion, the challenges we face in getting service to the truly unserved, and how to overcome them. We discuss the importance of eliminating the labyrinth of red tape and regulations, defining prescriptive easements, establishing dig once policies, and strengthening public-private partnerships.
In Congress, I fought to secure $600 million in new funds for rural broadband expansion in unserved areas and I have been working tirelessly to direct those funds to projects in the First District. I also have worked with the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that broadband expansion be part of any long-term infrastructure package, as it is critical to closing the gap between rural and urban job growth opportunities in Virginia. Expanding access to high-speed internet is critical to economic development and growth in our nation.
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, and applications that help small businesses compete in the […]Read More