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Senators launch broadband caucus

Senators launch broadband caucus
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A group of senators launched a new caucus to promote broadband deployment on Tuesday.

The so-called Senate Broadband Caucus was founded by five upper chamber lawmakers from states with significant rural populations, where connectivity is often limited.

“From online business startups to digital learning and telemedicine, broadband access is critical to the strength of our economy and our communities,” said Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBiden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push Biden pitches infrastructure plan in red state Louisiana House to advance appropriations bills in June, July MORE in a statement. “Unfortunately, the digital divide between rural and urban America is growing as essential broadband infrastructure falls behind in certain parts of the country,”

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The other members of the caucus are Sen. Angus KingAngus KingDC mayor admitted to Democratic governors group amid statehood fight Democrats fret over Biden spending Schumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands MORE (I-Maine), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStrengthen CBP regulations to reduce opioid deaths Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld MORE (D-Minn.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampEffective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Bill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (D-N.D.) and John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanSenate GOP opens door to earmarks Arkansas governor quietly bucking GOP's dive into culture wars Trump allies line up ahead of potentially bruising primaries MORE (R-Ark.).

That divide remains stark between the internet access available to most urban Americans and the limited options available to people in rural areas.

Roughly thirty-four million Americans in total lack access to high-speed internet, according to a Federal Communications Commission report in January.

Thirty-nine percent of rural Americans lack access to high-speech broadband — a number that grows for 41 percent of people on tribal lands — compared to only four percent of urban Americans.

Internet service providers often don’t do as well hooking up rural areas both because households are often remote and because it is sometimes economically implausible to build out service there, given the small number of residents.