Congress and the administration must act now to enact groundbreaking broadband connectivity legislation that includes the necessary resources to close the digital divide in this country, according to the American Connection Project Broadband Coalition.
“A bold investment will be essential for the near-term and long-term well-being of our nation. As we make this investment, we must recognize the higher costs of operating in rural areas and ensure that the solution accounts for the costs to sustain these systems while maintaining affordability,” the coalition said in a letter to President Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Launched on July 8, the coalition is a collection of 49 major companies and trade associations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation.
In their letter, the groups pointed out that while the lack of broadband connectivity in rural America is well documented, the global pandemic makes solving this problem all the more urgent.
“As millions shifted to work from home; school districts closed and resorted to distance learning platforms; and increasingly, patients sought health care through telemedicine platforms to reduce pressure on the health care system and reduce risk of unnecessary exposure, internet access has become essential to everyday life,” the coalition wrote.
The American Connection Project Broadband Coalition, led by Land O’Lakes Inc., represents companies and organizations involved in agriculture, energy, financial services, health care, education and technology. The group is strongly advocating for robust federal investment in broadband internet connectivity to advance telehealth, distance learning, precision agriculture and the tremendous economic value that comes with internet connectivity.