WASHINGTON, DC – Today House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn launched a new House Task Force on Rural Broadband to provide coordination and leadership to end the rural-digital divide. The Task Force will work to advance solutions to ensure all Americans have access to high-speed internet by 2025.
The announcement coincides with the 7th annual Infrastructure Week and comes on the heels of a bipartisan agreement with the President to develop a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. Majority Whip Clyburn and the President agreed on the need to include significant funding for rural broadband in the package.
“High-speed internet is an essential service in America today—yet too many of our fellow citizens in rural communities are being left behind. I have heard numerous stories of families traveling many miles to places where their children can access the internet to do their homework,” said Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “It’s unacceptable in 2019 that many rural communities have limited to no access to the internet. If rural America is to thrive in the 21st century information economy, it must have affordable and accessible internet service to every community.”
More than $60 billion in public resources have been invested to bring broadband to rural America; however, the FCC reports 25 million rural Americans are still without high-speed internet access. High-speed internet is a modern-day necessity and every American should have the ability to access affordable high-speed internet.
The Task Force will consult with key stakeholders, including rural advocates, market participants, local governments, and Administration officials to develop strategies to eliminate digital deserts and ensure rural Americans can thrive in the 21st century information economy. Top priorities include:
- highlighting success stories and innovative approaches;
- ensuring that federal funding for rural broadband is spent effectively;
- identifying necessary steps to position the United States to lead the world in universal broadband deployment; and
- passing legislation to advance a transformative agenda on rural broadband that accomplishes the goal of affordable universal access by 2025.
The task force will include the following House members:
Rep. Peter Welch (VT-at large)
Rep. Dave Loebsack (IA-2)
Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-2)
Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-3)
Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-2)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC-1)
Rep. T.J. Cox (CA-21)
Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19)
Rep. Abby Finkenauer (IA-1)
Rep. Jared Golden (ME-2)
Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17)
Rep. Ron Kind (WI-3)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-2)
Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1)
Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-7)
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-7)
Rep. Xochitl Torres-Small (NM-2)