Broadband Internet is Essential for Economic Growth


Date: June 7, 2010

Broadband internet service can, as they say, bring the world to your fingertips. A student in Chillicothe can watch breaking news stories in Japan. Or a business in St. Joseph can sell its goods to a buyer in Great Britain.

However, we need to make sure all areas of the country have access to high-speed internet, not just heavily populated urban centers.

With that in mind, I recently sent a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), expressing my concern about the negative impact the new National Broadband Plan (NBP) would have on rural areas if it is implemented. I was joined in this effort by thirty-eight of my colleagues from both parties.

I am worried the plan sets us on a course toward a greater digital divide between urban and rural areas. As it is currently written, the NBP proposes a significantly lower rate for rural areas than it does for more urban areas.

Fast, reliable internet service has become essential for job creation everywhere. Such a low threshold for rural residents and businesses is not enough broadband capacity for the next several years, let alone the future demands of our increasingly digital economy.

The current plan will inevitably lead to job losses, lower investment in rural areas, and to deterioration of communications services for many who live in less populated areas.

I've requested the FCC Chairman take the appropriate steps to modify the plan's recommendations to ensure all Americans benefit from everything broadband services have to offer, whether it's in Bethany or Bombay.