U.S. Representatives Launch Bipartisan Rural Broadband Caucus

  • Rural Broadband Caucus
WASHINGTON — Four members of the House of Representatives — Kevin Cramer (R- ND), Bob Latta (R-OH), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Peter Welch (D-VT) — have launched the Rural Broadband Caucus, a bipartisan initiative that will facilitate discussion, educate members of Congress and staff, and develop policy solutions to the digital divide that exists in rural America.

A significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America: Over half of all rural Americans lack access to this basic standard of service. In 2015, the FCC updated its broadband benchmark speeds to 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. According to the FCC, using this updated benchmark, the 2015 report finds that 55 million Americans – 17 percent of the population – lack access to advanced broadband. The Broadband Caucus will work to close the digital divide.

Affordable Broadband Transforms Economy of Rural America
“Access to high quality, affordable broadband technology continues to transform the economy of rural America,” said Rep. Cramer. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and stakeholders to continue to foster its growth, for the benefit of North Dakota and the entire nation.”

“Access to broadband is essential. It is a primary driver of economic development and empowers and connects communities – especially rural communities like I represent in northwest and west central Ohio,” said Congressman Latta. “This caucus will bring greater attention to the need for high-speed broadband in rural America, and help to encourage and spur innovative solutions to address this growing consumer demand.”

“Access to reliable, high-speed Internet service is vital to economic growth in communities across America,” said Rep. Pocan. “Whether, it is for commerce, education or public safety needs, broadband service allows individuals and businesses in rural communities to take advantage of new technologies and stay connected to a 21st Century economy. There are many parts of my district where residents experience extremely slow download speeds even as low as 1 mbps. I look forward to working with Reps. Welch, Latta, and Cramer to discuss policy solutions to the digital divide existing in rural America.”

“Access to high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity in our homes, schools and for our businesses,” Congressman Welch said. “In order for states like Vermont to succeed and compete in the 21st Century, we must close the digital divide by expanding and updating broadband infrastructure and ensure access to a high-speed, reliable connection for all.”

Cramer, Latta, Pocan and Welch will serve as co-chairs of the new caucus. Other members include Reps. Mike Bost (R-IL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Frank Lucas (R-OK), James McGovern (D-MA), Luke Messer (R-IN), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Rob Woodall (R-GA).

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