Spanberger Announces Details for Rural Broadband Summit in Louisa on Saturday, Encourages Central Virginians to Attend to Share their Perspectives & Hear from Federal Officials

Summit Panelists Will Include the Congresswoman, USDA & NTIA Officials, & UVA Scholar

HENRICO, V.A. –  U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today announced the details of her upcoming 2019 Rural Broadband Summit in Louisa County. 

On Saturday, August 17, Spanberger will host her 2019 Rural Broadband Summit, which will be an opportunity for Central Virginians to publicly discuss their personal experiences with a lack of high-speed broadband internet access. Additionally, they will hear from a panel of experts—including an official from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a representative from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and others—about ongoing efforts to expand broadband infrastructure in Virginia and across the country.

The details for the 2019 Rural Broadband Summit are as follows:

WHEN: Saturday, August 17, 1:00pm–4:00 pm ET

WHERE: Louisa County High School

ADDRESS: 757 Davis Highway, Mineral, VA 23117

Registration is required and is currently open on Spanberger’s EventBrite page.   

“Those across our district from Nottoway to Culpeper all agree—outdated internet infrastructure inhibits the ability of our rural communities to attract new businesses, sustain family farms, give our students a competitive edge in the classroom, and keep our families secure and safe. Here in the Seventh District, we clearly need a sharper strategy to close the digital gap between our rural and suburban counties, and part of this summit’s goal is to help bridge that divide of opportunity,” said Spanberger. “The Rural Broadband Summit is a continuation of the many productive conversations we’ve had related to the expansion of high-speed broadband internet across Central Virginia and the process of securing high-speed internet access for all Seventh District residents. I’m looking forward to bringing federal officials to our district as we amplify the voices of constituents, industry experts, and community leaders in this critical infrastructure discussion—and I’d like to thank constituents for joining me as we work together to bring the advantages of reliable broadband internet access to more communities across the Seventh District.”

The event will also include small-group discussions with first responders, educators, community leaders, and farmers.

The Rural Broadband Summit builds on Spanberger’s efforts to amplify and collect the stories of Central Virginians who are currently facing unnecessary challenges due to the absence of broadband internet in their community. Earlier this year, she collected these stories through her 2019 Rural Broadband Survey, in which she asked Central Virginians to describe how a lack of reliable broadband access has personally impacted them, their families, or their businesses. 

Spanberger’s Rural Broadband Summit is part of her continued “Securing the Future” August in-district work period. This focus includes understanding how expanded broadband infrastructure across Central Virginia can secure long-term job security for local workers and support new startups and small businesses. 

BACKGROUND

Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has worked to expand high-speed broadband internet access across Central Virginia’s rural communities, including by:

  • Fighting for strengthened funding for rural broadband internet infrastructure in the communities that need it. In June, Spanberger successfully led the fight to approve a bipartisan amendment that would increase federal rural broadband infrastructure funding by $55 million. The amendment was passed by the House as part of an appropriations package.  And Spanberger also introduced and passed an amendment to improve FCC broadband internet data—and she articulated the need for improved FCC maps on the floor of the U.S. House, particularly as it impacts the eligibility of Central Virginia communities for federal funding.
  • Bringing the eConnectivity concerns of Central Virginians directly to USDA leadership. 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.
  • Working with colleagues to find common ground on rural broadband policy. Earlier this year, Spanberger announced her appointment to a new task force focused on expanding high-speed internet access in rural communities. The House Task Force on Rural Broadband will provide coordination and leadership to increase investment in rural broadband internet infrastructure across the United States, and it will operate under an overarching goal to make sure all Americans have reliable access to high-speed internet by 2025. And as Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s rural opportunity task force, she co-authored an op-ed on Fox News online to highlight the need to pursue smart, bipartisan rural broadband infrastructure policies.

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