On Monday in Morgantown, United States Senator Shelley Moore Capito hosted a discussion on rural broadband at the WVU Reed School of Journalism Innovation Center.
This roundtable focused on how important broadband connectivity is for rural communities. Senator Capito was also joined by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. They believe without this source individuals will not have access to educational healthcare, or other opportunities.
Capito said that rural communities and communities that face economic challenges are most at risk for falling behind.
"We need to talk about what incentives should be in place to have investment flow to those communities so they can be the best that they can be. Right now, without it, we are going to be further behind in terms of their digital divide and way behind when it comes to opportunities divide," said Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner.
Capito and Clyburn also visited Preston Memorial Hospital after their time at WVU.
At the hospital they were part of a discussion on telemedicine and how better connectivity and Internet in rural areas could benefit healthcare. Senator Capito has joined with other Senators who have largely rural states to see how they can improve service to those areas and keep costs low.
“We’re trying to figure out a way," said Senator Capito. "Whether it’s through the Department of Agriculture for the Rural Utility Service, which first brought electricity in the 30s. Now let’s bring Broadband with those dollars because everybody’s got electricity now. We’re trying to be more creative using all different federal agencies.”
Senator Capito also said she doesn’t want to see a nationwide focus on making broadband faster before all areas have access.