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Rural Access to High-Speed Internet

February 14, 2017

In a day and age where reliable, quick internet access in America has become the norm, many living in rural areas find themselves without this essential connection.

Roughly one-fourth of rural Missourians are unable to purchase high-speed internet which puts them at a disadvantage in everything from education to entertainment to healthcare. The internet is a powerful tool. At the same time it keeps families and friends connected and provides entertainment, it also serves as a conduit for valuable information. For all of the businesses and corporations that rely on this information, there are farmers and ranchers searching for information as well. Educational materials, agricultural efficiency, and access to telemedicine are all aspects of rural life that are being deprived as a result of the lack of high speed internet in these communities.

Recently, along with 70 of my colleagues in the House, I signed a letter to President Trump urging his infrastructure proposal to Congress to include investments to increase high-speed internet access for our rural communities. The desire for this updated internet access is no longer a want, but a need. To flourish both personally and professionally in the 21st century requires a reliable and fast connection to the information that can only be achieved through broadband. I was happy to sign onto this letter because hardworking Missourians – whether they are surrounded by skyscrapers or pasture – need high-speed access.

In the past, I have voted for a number of bills to bring reliable internet to our rural areas such as the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act. This bill aimed to remove some of the federal burdens from our smaller broadband providers, allowing them the freedom to expand into less populated areas. With this strain lifted, these providers could spend more time and energy deploying broadband services, something rural communities require.

The accessibility of rural internet access can no longer be overlooked. I am committed to helping these communities find a sustainable and affordable answer to this rural and urban divide, and I will continue working to bring high-speed internet to our country’s rural areas.