To watch Senator Capito’s full speech, click here or the image above.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today delivered remarks on the Senate floor on rural broadband and the importance of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).
During the speech, Senator Capito referenced constituent stories, broadband accomplishments through her Capito Connect program, and the opportunity in the near future to close the digital divide with the help of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC)’s RDOF.
ON THE CHALLNGES IN WEST VIRGINIA: “The reality is that broadband buildout in rural areas of West Virginia and across our country are extremely expensive and take more time to complete—because, in our case, we have those beautiful West Virginia mountains. I’ve always said that if we can communicate with humans on the moon, we can surely find a way to deliver broadband to individuals, families, and businesses across this nation.”
ON CLOSING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: “The FCC’s upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund—and I’m going to call it RDOF, which is how we address it—is the largest federal investment aimed at closing the digital divide. RDOF will award $20.4 billion over the next 10 years for broadband service in rural America… West Virginia is set to receive a significant amount of funding over the next ten years to connect 121,000 eligible homes, so that’s probably over 200,000 individuals, particularly those in the unserved areas as I mentioned.”
ON CAPITO CONNECT: “Five years ago, I created my Capito Connect plan which is a roadmap for bringing affordable high-speed internet access to homes, businesses, and classrooms in my state of West Virginia. Each year, we’re making significant strides, and I am proud of these accomplishments that have been made. Are we all the way there? No. That’s why I’m talking about it today, and how important it is… Since the launch of my initiative I have successfully delivered $73 million in funding for residential broadband projects in the USDA programs, and we’re continuing those efforts.”
ON WORKING TOGETHER CONNECT COMMUNITIES: “All levels of government, along with the private sector, and with our municipalities and local leaders have stepped up to the plate towards this common goal. Capito Connect is making a difference in connecting thousands in West Virginia. I’ve worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, through my committee work and also worked with the administration—which has truly prioritized this issue. Perhaps one upside of this pandemic, or I would say better maybe lessons learned, is that it has helped us better-appreciate the time we can physically spend with one other… We cannot disadvantage parts of this country because you don’t have what I considered to be one of the essentials in order to do business, to have healthcare, and to learn: and that is the deployment of high speed broadband. Getting back to the human connection is so important, and I know we miss it, but it makes our work on broadband all that much more important.”
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