Rural Broadband Policy
What I Believe: Broadband internet has become an essential need in our society today, similar to electricity and other utilities required for basic life functions. The COVID pandemic has helped to further demonstrate that the ability to connect to reliable internet service is necessary to conduct business, educate our children, and receive uninterrupted medical care, among other necessities. Online communications and commerce have become woven into our national culture and identity, and more must be done to provide this service to our rural communities. To successfully move forward together, broadband internet needs to be considered critical infrastructure.
I do not believe it is the government’s role to be the provider of internet services, but government does have a role to play. Government can and should provide incentives, such as tax breaks and specialized grants, to bring private industry into rural areas that are traditionally unprofitable for businesses alone to expand infrastructure. Facilitating federal grants for broadband expansion will allow companies to expand more rapidly into our underserved rural areas.
Why I Believe It: Similar to other utilities such as water, electric, and phone service, the broadband internet industry is often an oligopoly and requires substantial cost to create infrastructure. Comparisons can be made between the development of the Interstate Highway System and the expansion of internet service to all Americans. Commerce, communications, research and development, education, and other advancements are promoted through each of these services. Therefore, in very limited situations such as the building of these two critical infrastructure projects, the Federal government can play an important role in reducing prohibitive costs and regulations and promoting free enterprise. This investment is essential to be competitive in our domestic and global economy.
I am proud of the progress on broadband made in Campbell County during my time on the Board of Supervisors. I was able to help a neighborhood in my own Sunburst District gain access to broadband. Additionally, the board began work to provide a solution for other unserved and underserved areas of the county thru cultivation of public/private partnerships with competing prospective service providers.
Solutions I Will Focus On: As your representative, I will work to:
- – Strengthen President Trump’s rural infrastructure program through various legislative actions
- – Support the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund, which helps provide access to quality telecommunications and information services for farmers and rural consumers
- – Promote free, fair, and open market solutions for broadband expansion
- – Provide the FCC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) needed resources that fall within the purview of the Federal government’s constitutional role and responsibilities