05.14.20

Gardner Calls for Greater Broadband Access After Senate Hearing

Says the status quo is “not sustainable in these days of safer-at-home policies”

Washington, D.C. – This week the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing titled, “The State of Broadband Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.” After the hearing, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) highlighted the need for greater broadband access in unserved and underserved areas in Colorado and released the following statement:

“The Colorado Department of Education released results from a survey showing more than 50 percent of education leaders believe Internet connectivity is a critical area of focus for their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also estimates that more than 65,000 students in Colorado live in homes without any Internet access—that’s approximately eight percent of Colorado’s entire student population who may be suffering from the inability to do their homework, keep on a level playing field with their classmates, and ultimately succeed beyond school,” said Senator Gardner. “And it’s not just our students. I’ve heard from my constituents in Colorado about slow speeds during peak work hours, choppy videos, dropped conference calls, and pages that just won’t load. That’s not sustainable in these days of safer-at-home policies with so many relying on broadband to telecommute and access healthcare. We must continue to do more to build out rural broadband and connect more Coloradans and others throughout our country.”

Background:

  • Gardner recently called for a concentrated effort to make rural broadband a reality on the Senate floor, saying the COVID-19 pandemic has “laid bare the cyber desert that exists in many of our rural communities.”
  • In April 2020, Colorado healthcare providers received more than $850,000 from the FCC through the CARES Act for telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In an April 2020 op-ed, Gardner wrote about the need to provide broadband for rural communities.
  • In March 2020, the Senate Commerce Committee passed the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, bipartisan legislation Gardner introduced to establish a single point of contact office to streamline management and oversight of federal broadband resources across multiple agencies.
  • In December 2019, the Senate Commerce Committee passed Gardner’s measure to provide substantial funding for rural broadband by ensuring at least 10 percent of the sale from a C-band spectrum would be allocated for rural buildout in unserved and underserved areas.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.