The fabulous Senate Broadband Caucus, led by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), sent a letter today to President Donald Trump urging his administration to include stand-alone funding for rural broadband deployment in any future infrastructure plans. The letter emphasizes policy priorities that are part of a broader, ongoing dialogue about how best to support and sustain robust broadband services in rural America.
“Prioritizing direct funding support for broadband deployment in an infrastructure package will help close the digital divide and ensure our country maintains its global competitiveness,” the letter states, while positing that new telecommunications infrastructure would spur economic opportunity and growth in underserved communities, which are often low-density and rural.
From NTCA’s perspective, we heartily applaud the leadership and persistence of the Senate Broadband Caucus on this critical and timely issue. These Senators are tirelessly working to support the rural consumers and small businesses they represent to ensure they have access to sustainable and robust broadband, and yesterday’s announcement by FCC Chairman Pai proposing additional funding for the deployment of rural broadband is directly aligned with what this bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging. I particularly applaud the building block efforts that NTCA members have made to continually and constantly engage their federal legislators on the critical challenges these carriers face in building out their networks and the recognition that while streamlining and knocking down barriers is important, at the end of the day real resources will be needed to get the job down to ensure that we close any digital divides in our country. We simply cannot have part of our population testing out driverless cars and expanding IoT applications while others have limited access to advanced services.
Maybe stars really can align?