01.31.17

Capito Leads Senators in Urging President Trump to Expand Broadband Access

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) led Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), the co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, and 43 other senators in a letter urging President Trump to include broadband in any infrastructure initiative. This follows the letter Senator Capito sent President-elect Trump on December 12 encouraging the new administration to prioritize broadband deployment.

“A broad agenda to promote broadband access will empower Americans living in every community – from urban city centers to rural towns – with economic opportunities that will jumpstart growth in jobs and wages,” the senators wrote. “That is why improving broadband access must be a priority in the 115th Congress and broadband must be part of any discussions regarding infrastructure investments to meet the demands of the 21st century economy. In addition, policies that reduce barriers to investment in communications infrastructure and streamline the deployment process will play a key role in expanding economic growth.”

In addition to the co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, the letter was also signed by Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Al Franken (D-Minn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

The House Broadband Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and Bob Latta (R-Ohio), sent a similar letter to President Trump today. 

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

As you work with Congress to address the infrastructure needs of our country, we urge you to prioritize policies as part of any infrastructure initiative that will promote deployment of high-speed, reliable broadband for all Americans. Expanding access to broadband, both rural and urban, is the infrastructure challenge of our generation and we cannot afford to wait to make progress on this important goal.

The internet has changed the way businesses reach their customers and workers do their jobs. From large companies that employ thousands to small businesses on Main Street, broadband access is not a luxury, it is a necessity. The internet expands opportunities for commerce and strengthens our economy. A broad agenda to promote broadband access will empower Americans living in every community – from urban city centers to rural towns – with economic opportunities that will jumpstart growth in jobs and wages. In fact, for every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure, 250,000 jobs are created and with every percentage point increase in new broadband distribution, employment expands by 300,000.

These benefits can only be fully realized when connections are fast, reliable, and affordable. That is why improving broadband access must be a priority in the 115th Congress and broadband must be part of any discussions regarding infrastructure investments to meet the demands of the 21st century economy. In addition, policies that reduce barriers to investment in communications infrastructure and streamline the deployment process will play a key role in expanding economic growth.

In order to maintain the United States’ position as a global leader for innovation, we must invest to expand our broadband infrastructure. This effort should include bringing broadband connections to locations where economic conditions or geography have made deployment difficult and improving the quality and affordability of existing broadband connections.

We look forward to working with you to expand broadband access to all Americans.

 

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