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September 22, 2015

King Welcomes White House Report on Steps to Strengthen Broadband Infrastructure

Stresses that more work remains to expand broadband, close digital divide for rural America

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a strong proponent of expanding digital access and increasing investment in broadband infrastructure, issued the following statement this morning after the White House Broadband Opportunity Council yesterday released its report and recommendations on broadband deployment throughout the United States:

“This report should serve as a roadmap to how we can better deploy broadband across the country by investing in our digital infrastructure, modernizing federal programs that support broadband, and reducing overly burdensome regulations that stand in the way of broadband growth,” Senator King said. “Expanding access to broadband will jumpstart economic growth and help close the digital divide that stymies opportunities for too many people, particularly those who live in rural states like Maine. Above all, this report shows that there is much work left to be done, and that we must take additional steps to ensure that this generation and those who follow will have the tools necessary to compete in an ever-changing economy.”

The Broadband Opportunity Council, an interagency body of 25 federal agencies and departments created by President Obama in March to work with industry to better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment, yesterday released a report with four specific recommendations to increase broadband deployment, competition, and adoption across the United States, including:

  • Modernizing federal programs to expand support for broadband investments.
  • Empowering communities with tools and resources to attract broadband investment and promote meaningful use.
  • Promoting increased broadband deployment and competition through expanded access to federal assets.
  • Improving data collection, analysis and research on broadband.

In June, Senator King sent a letter, along with a bipartisan group of his colleagues, to the Broadband Opportunity Council Co-Chairs, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, pressing the Council to ensure that the federal government prioritizes high-speed broadband access for rural Americans. Senator King has also worked to close the digital divide for rural students with his Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015, which helped inspire a provision in the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) that passed the Senate in July.

Federal agencies are expected to take dozens of actions over the next 18 months building off the recommendations in the report. More information on the report is available HERE.


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