Kuster Highlights Work to Expand Rural Broadband Access, Questions Experts on Pathways for Improvement During House Agriculture Hearing
Washington, April 20, 2021
Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, participated in a full Committee hearing entitled, “Rural Broadband - Examining Internet Connectivity Needs and Opportunities in Rural America.” The Committee heard from broadband experts about the state of broadband for farmers and rural communities and steps Congress can take to expand access to communities across the country.
“The critical need for universal, affordable broadband access in the U.S. existed long before COVID-19, but the pandemic brought this issue to the forefront, especially in our rural communities,” said Rep. Kuster. “Unfortunately, far too many people living in rural parts of the country continue to face low-quality, unreliable, and slow internet connections, or lack of internet access at all. The most recent USDA agricultural census found that 13% of New Hampshire farms lack internet access, inhibiting farmers from fully engaging in USDA programs.”
“Broadband connectivity is important for everyone — that’s why I’m proud to serve on the Rural Broadband Task Force,” Rep. Kuster continued. “Last month, our Task Force introduced the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which authorizes $94 billion to build out our broadband structure nationwide with a special focus on areas with little or no access. We have a lot of work ahead of us to develop broadband infrastructure to guarantee 100 percent of Americans can connect to secure, high-speed broadband. I will continue working in Congress to close the digital divide and ensure everyone can have a reliable connection.”
Witnesses at today’s Committee hearing included:
Ms. Jennifer Prather
Vice- President and General Manager, Totelcom Communications, LLC
Mr. Tim Johnson
Chief Executive Officer, OEConnect LLC and Ostego Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Ms. Vickie Robinson
General Manager, Microsoft Global Airband Initiative
Dr. Johnny Park
Chief Executive Officer, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network
A member of the House Rural Broadband Task Force, Kuster is a leader in Congress to expand access to broadband to rural communities in New Hampshire and across the country. In the 117th Congress, Kuster cosponsored and helped introduce the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which authorizes over $94 billion to ensure unserved and underserved communities have affordable high-speed internet access. Kuster is also working to advance the LIFT America Act in Congress, legislation that includes over $100 billion to develop broadband infrastructure to guarantee 100 percent of Americans can connect to secure, high-speed broadband.