World-class high-speed internet service should be affordable and accessible to all Americans, no matter where they live. Yet large parts of rural America are “digital deserts,” where high-speed internet access is unavailable at any price. In many others, service is often unreliable, unaffordable, or too slow. In South Carolina alone, over half a million people don’t have reliable access to internet at home.
In rural areas throughout the country, there are patients with diabetes who must leave their homes just to get a proper internet connection to report their blood pressure and blood sugar levels to their doctors. If those patients had broadband service, they could use teleservices to communicate with their doctors from the comfort of their own homes.
Our children are impacted too. Across America, schoolchildren are driven to the library at late hours, since that is the only way for them to complete their online homework. To give our children in rural areas a good education, we need to get them access to broadband service at home.
Rural America deserves the same high-speed internet service level that is enjoyed by urban and suburban America. House Democrats are committed to making that happen.
The Whip’s Rural Broadband Task Force is a group of House Democrats working to close the digital divide within the next five years. The Task Force is developing legislation to promote high-speed internet accessibility, affordability, and adoption. Funding for broadband services will prioritize serving those without any access today. To do this, the first step is to improve coverage maps to make sure there is an accurate picture of where unserved and underserved communities are located.
The Task Force is ensuring that underserved communities don’t get left behind again. Investments must be made for both today and the future – the broadband service provided must not just meet the internet demands of today, but also of tomorrow. This “future-proofing” guarantees that new infrastructure will be an asset for communities for many years to come.