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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 CapitoModerates vow to 'be a force' under Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief 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 KingBiden's bipartisan push hits wall on COVID-19 relief bill Moderates vow to 'be a force' under Biden Biden officials hold call with bipartisan group of senators on coronavirus relief plan MORE (I-Maine), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Klobuchar says Senate impeachment trial of former official is constitutional: 'We have precedent' MORE (D-Minn.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment Biden to tap Vilsack for Agriculture secretary: reports OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA guidance may exempt some water polluters from Supreme Court permit mandate | Vilsack's stock rises with Team Biden | Arctic wildfires linked to warming temperatures: NOAA MORE (D-N.D.) and John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanSenators discussing Trump censure resolution Senate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time Senate poised to override Trump's defense bill veto 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.