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 CapitoCongress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out Second GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure 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 KingGovernment watchdog recommends creation of White House cyber director position Democrats step up hardball tactics as Supreme Court fight heats up Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE (I-Maine), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSocial media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates MORE (D-Minn.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampCentrists, progressives rally around Harris pick for VP 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama MORE (D-N.D.) and John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanCOVID-19 relief talks look dead until September  Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick The Hill's Coronavirus Report: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Artistic Director Tim Seelig says choirs are dangerous; Pence says, 'We have saved lives' 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.