Congressman Lucas, Rural Broadband Caucus Lead Letter Urging President Biden to Prioritize Rural Broadband in Upcoming Infrastructure Package
Cheyenne, OK – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Mark Pocan (D-Wis), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.), co-chairs of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, in penning a bipartisan letter earlier this week asking President Biden to prioritize broadband investments in underserved areas of rural America as part of any infrastructure proposal he presents to Congress. President Biden has made passing a major infrastructure package a top priority of his new administration.
“Access to rural broadband has never been more important than it is now. From schools and doctors’ offices to small businesses and family farms, broadband allows us all to stay connected in our 21st century society,” said Congressman Lucas. “Infrastructure has long been a bipartisan issue in Congress- broadband, roads, bridges, and waterways don’t have partisan labels but instead connect our communities with one another. I look forward to working with President Biden and my colleagues in Congress to create solutions and further our investment to increase access to reliable, high-speed internet for millions of Americans.”
In the letter, the Representatives wrote: “As you develop your infrastructure proposal to present to Congress, we write to urge you to include investments that will bring the benefits of broadband connectivity to unserved rural America and tribal areas. In the 21st Century, high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury amenity, but rather an essential service for homes and businesses in this interconnected world.”
Broadband access is mandatory in the 21st century and has become even more essential as the pandemic has forced many people to move online to work, attend school, and even socialize. In particular, many children without broadband access have fallen behind at school because they have been unable to attend online class or complete online work.
In Oklahoma, only 48% of rural residents have access to a broadband connection.
Congressman Lucas recently spoke to KOCO News 5 about the importance of increasing access to rural broadband for rural Oklahomans.
Lucas joined the House Rural Broadband Caucus at the beginning of the 117thCongress.
The Rural Broadband Caucus is a bipartisan House caucus founded in 2016. The bipartisan initiative facilitates discussion, educates Members of Congress and staff, and develops policy solutions to the digital divide that exists in rural America.
The full letter can be read here.