WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today announced her appointment to a new task force focused on expanding high-speed internet access in rural communities.
Spanberger has been selected to serve on the House Task Force on Rural Broadband, which will provide coordination and leadership to increase investment in rural broadband internet infrastructure across the United States. The Task Force will operate under an overarching goal to make sure all Americans have reliable access to high-speed internet by 2025.
This week’s announcement coincides with the seventh annual National Infrastructure Week, and it follows a bipartisan agreement with the President earlier this month to develop a $2 trillion infrastructure bill—legislation that could include funding for vital broadband internet projects.
“The future success of our rural communities depends on the infrastructure investments we make today. That’s why I am committed to working in the House to expand high-speed broadband internet access across Central Virginia and throughout rural America,” said Spanberger. “As a member of the new Rural Broadband Task Force, I look forward to advancing effective legislation and advocating on behalf of our rural families, entrepreneurs, and educators. Reliable access to the internet is a vital component of staying economically competitive in our hyper-connected world, and all Americans should be able to experience these opportunities—no matter their zipcode. As we mark National Infrastructure Week, I’m urging my colleagues to include broadband internet in this larger conversation and to pursue bipartisan legislation to help address the connectivity concerns of our rural neighbors.”
The Rural Broadband Task Force will consult with rural advocates, market participants, local governments, and administration officials to develop strategies on how best to narrow the rural digital divide. Priorities of the Task Force include providing oversight of federal funding for rural broadband, identifying necessary steps to achieve universal broadband deployment, and passing legislation to accomplish the goal of affordable universal access by 2025.
The seventh annual National Infrastructure Week takes place from May 13-20, 2019 and is marked by hundreds of businesses, labor organizations, elected officials, and additional partners across the country. Click here to learn more.
Since arriving in Congress, Spanberger has stressed the immediate need to expand high-speed internet access in Central Virginia’s rural communities. Last month, Spanberger led a bipartisan effort urging key House Appropriations Committee members to boost funding for rural broadband internet infrastructure—including through the ReConnect Program. Spanberger also introduced and passed an amendment to improve the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband internet data—and she articulated the need for improved FCC maps on the floor of the U.S. House.
Last month, Spanberger also launched her 2019 Rural Broadband Survey to help identify some of the high-speed internet connectivity challenges facing Central Virginians.
During her first House Agriculture Committee hearing, Spanberger asked USDA Secretary Perdue about his thoughts on expanding rural broadband. Spanberger also invited Secretary Perdue to visit her district to hear directly from Central Virginia farmers and dairy producers, and get their feedback on current USDA policies and 2018 Farm Bill implementation. He accepted her invitation. Click here for a full video of her remarks.