Bipartisan group of senators ask Trump to fund broadband in infrastructure plan
A bipartisan group of senators is urging President Trump to include funding for expanding broadband access to rural communities in his infrastructure plan.
Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday emphasizing the importance of internet access for rural states.
“Our rural communities have connectivity needs that are not being met, limiting economic opportunity and growth,” wrote the senators, all co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus. “Prioritizing direct funding support for broadband deployment in an infrastructure package will help close the digital divide and ensure our country maintains its global competitiveness.”
The White House had said that it would release its infrastructure proposal this month, but it may not be ready until February.
Funding broadband expansion has widespread support among lawmakers and the tech and broadband industries. But Democrats and Republicans have offered differing views on how to fund such projects.
Trump’s proposal is expected to aim to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure projects, though it is still unclear how much of that will go towards broadband.
“Boosting current investments in broadband deployment will provide new economic opportunities in communities that are struggling to compete,” Wednesday’s letter reads. “Expanding access to broadband is the infrastructure challenge of our generation and an infrastructure plan for the 21st century must address the broadband connectivity issues facing rural America.”