Lawmakers ask Biden to prioritize rural broadband

  • Broadband

CHEYENNE, Okla. – U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas recently joined other members of the House Rural Broadband Caucus in writing a bipartisan letter asking President Joe Biden to prioritize broadband investment in underserved areas of rural America. Biden has made passing a major infrastructure package a top priority of his new administration.

“Access to rural broadband has never been more important than it is now. From schools and doctors’ offices to small businesses and family farms, broadband allows us all to stay connected in our 21st century society,” Congressman Lucas said.

“Infrastructure has long been a bipartisan issue in Congress; broadband, roads, bridges and waterways don’t have partisan labels but instead connect our communities with one another. I look forward to working with President Biden and my colleagues in Congress to create solutions and further our investment to increase access to reliable, high-speed internet for millions of Americans.”

In their letter, the lawmakers wrote: “As you develop your infrastructure proposal to present to Congress, we urge you to include investments that will bring the benefits of broadband connectivity to unserved rural America and tribal areas. In the 21st century, high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury amenity but rather an essential service for homes and businesses in this interconnected world.”

Broadband access is mandatory in the 21st century and has become even more essential as the pandemic has forced many people to move online to work, attend school, and even socialize, the federal lawmakers noted. In particular, many children without broadband access have fallen behind at school because they have been unable to attend online class or complete online work.

Purportedly, only 48% of rural residents in Oklahoma have access to a broadband connection.