March 27, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, today released the March edition of his Inside Maine podcast, focusing on the importance of broadband to Maine people during the coronavirus pandemic, and the importance of confronting the widening digital divide. During the discussion, Senator King highlighted provisions included in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to expand broadband access throughout the country – including an estimated $120+ million in direct funding for Maine. Senator King played a key role in including these funds in the ARP, and published an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News earlier this month highlighting the legislation’s historic investments in broadband.
This month’s episode features Josh Broder, CEO of Tilson Technologies and Co-Chair of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee, who joins Senator King to discuss how the funds will directly support economic recovery efforts in the state, boost national efforts to improve broadband infrastructure, and support long-term economic growth in communities across Maine. In the second segment, Kathryn de Wit of Pew Charitable Trusts joins Senator King to discuss the vital role of connectivity in 21st century life, and policy options to close the digital divide and empower states, localities, and tribes to improve access to high-speed broadband nationwide.
“Broadband is essential to staying connected in the 21st century, and the coronavirus pandemic has only increased its importance,” said Senator King. “Without access to high-speed broadband, millions of Americans can’t work from home, attend classes, receive medical care through telehealth, or connect with loved ones during this pandemic. As broadband grows in importance, too many communities are being left behind – which will hinder both Maine’s economic recovery and long-term growth. Though help is on the way through historic investments included in the American Rescue Plan, there’s still an immense amount of work to be done. I’m grateful to Josh and Kathryn for their time to discuss how we can maximize the reach of the funds included in the American Rescue Plan, as well as how we can continue to work to close the digital divide.”
During his time in the Senate, Senator King has been a strong advocate for expanding broadband access as a way to increase connectivity in rural Maine – and has raised the issue consistently during the coronavirus pandemic. He celebrated the inclusion of billions of dollars in the American Rescue Plan for broadband investment – which he voted in favor of earlier this month, and published an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald emphasizing the benefits of the plan for Maine. Senator King has also urged the Biden Administration to update federal standards for high-speed broadband to reflect modern uses, updating the definition of high-speed broadband to 100 megabits per second of upload and download speed. Senator King urged the FCC to administer the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) in a way that helps address the longstanding digital divides that block too many Americans from securing a reliable, affordable broadband connection. In September 2020, Senator King introduced the Broadband Reform and Investment to Drive Growth in the Economy (BRIDGE) Act of 2020 to deploy affordable, “future-proof” broadband networks nationwide. Senator King called on the seven largest internet service providers (ISPs) to help limit the economic and social disruption caused by COVID-19 and better ensure that learners of all ages are able to meaningfully participate in their education.
The “Inside Maine Podcast with Senator Angus King” is a 30-minute program that aims to help keep Maine people informed about issues of the day, how they affect life in the state, and how they factor into Senator King’s work as one of two independents in the U.S. Senate. Senator King’s podcast builds on his existing radio show that airs on Newsradio WGAN in Portland, Maine between 10 and 11 a.m. on almost every last Saturday of the month. The link to the March podcast can be found HERE.