Lawmakers push Biden on broadband for rural America

A recent letter from lawmakers to President Joe Biden urged the administration to prioritize rural broadband in his forthcoming infrastructure proposal.

“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,” said the letter from the Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus.

“Rural communities and tribal areas cannot attract and retain businesses and human resources if they are insufficiently connected,” the letter said. “Broadband allows rural Americans to communicate with friends and families and access entertainment. High-speed broadband facilitates agricultural efficiency for farmers, supplies students and teachers with unlimited access to educational materials, and allows for doctors’ visits at home.”

Lawmakers also noted the difficulties students face trying to learn remotely during the pandemic when their communities lack connectivity.

Currently, federal data shows about 18 million Americans, mostly in rural areas, lack access to broadband, though it’s possible that number is higher.