Gardner Presses For Expanded Rural Broadband

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he, along with a bipartisan group of Senators, has written a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking them to review efforts to bring broadband internet access to rural America and to present an analysis of existing programs and best practices. The letter to the two Secretaries reads, in part:

As Co-Chairs of the Broadband Opportunity Council (Council), you have a unique opportunity to take a holistic view of our successes and failures at incentivizing broadband deployment and adoption in high-cost, hard to serve areas. The twenty-five different government agencies and entities represented on the Council have tried a variety of approaches to address this complex challenge, and we urge you to carefully review and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the various Federal initiatives administered by each member agency. We also ask that you coordinate with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on this endeavor to learn from their extensive experience.  A thorough understanding of what we know already works – and what important questions remain – will help to inform the debate about what more we can do to truly bring rural America into the 21st century. We request a detailed analysis of these initiatives and a list of best practices be included in your report to the President due no later than August 20, 2015.

The full text of the letter can be read here.

Senator Gardner has been an advocate for rural broadband throughout his time in the United States Congress. While a member of the House of Representatives, he formed a rural broadband coalition to develop public policy and gain expert insight. He also led a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler calling for Universal Service Fund support for carriers providing rural customers with broadband-only services.