Senators offer bill to close rural-urban internet divide

Senators offer bill to close rural-urban internet divide
© Greg Nash

Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoSenate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Lots of love: Charity tennis match features lawmakers teaming up across the aisle Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-W.Va.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanNew Hampshire governor signs controversial voting bill Conway takes aim at congressional intern who yelled 'f--- you' at Trump Fox's Regan defends CNN's Acosta, calls for civility: 'What has happened to us?' MORE (D-N.H.) introduced a bill on Tuesday aimed at promoting internet access in rural communities.

The Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement a benchmark for rural internet access that is "reasonably comparable" to urban areas.

“Now, more than ever, broadband is a powerful tool that students and businesses need to compete in a global digital economy,” Capito said in a statement. “While progress has been made, too many rural areas continue to fall behind."

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Capito is a co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, which is aimed at promoting the expansion of high-speed internet access to underserved areas.

According to the FCC, 31 percent of rural Americans and 35 percent of Americans in tribal areas lack access to broadband, compared to just 2 percent of those living in urban areas.

A companion bill was introduced in the House last year by Reps. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyOvernight Energy: Koch backs bill opposing carbon taxes | Lawmakers look to Interior budget to block offshore drilling | EPA defends FOIA process Koch backs House measure opposing carbon taxes This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (R-W.Va.) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDems struggle with unity amid leadership tensions New Dem star to rattle DC establishment Overnight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases MORE (D-Vt.).

“The people and businesses in our rural communities need the same access that urban centers have to reliable and fast mobile and broadband services if they are to compete in the 21st century innovation economy,” Hassan said in a statement.