On March 20, 2018, Rob posted this note to his constituents about the status of broadband internet in Virginia:
High-speed internet has revolutionized the way we live. From online banking to online education, internet access dramatically improves our quality of life. However, millions of Americans and thousands of Virginians have been left behind. Many rural Americans have little to no access to broadband, and, here in Virginia, almost 29 percent of people living in rural areas lack access to any broadband service at all. This must change.
I’ve been working with key stakeholders from local, state, and federal officials, to industry leaders to find solutions to this critical issue. At one of my Rural Broadband Taskforce Summit meetings last year, I brought these stakeholders and Federal Communication Chairman Ajit Pai together for a roundtable on what steps our region can take to improve broadband access. For instance, we discussed specific policy ideas like eliminating the labyrinth of red tape and regulations, defining prescriptive easements, establishing dig once policies, and strengthening public-private partnerships.
While these discussions will continue, I’ve let the Trump Administration know just how important it is that we get internet access out to rural America. We’re sitting on a tremendous amount of untapped human capital and economic growth that could be unleashed by simply accessing broadband services. So in January, I sent a letter to the President asking that he include policies that promote broadband investment in any infrastructure package proposal.
From Trump’s Executive Orders on broadband to his infrastructure plan that helps expand access, I am very encouraged that the administration is taking this issue seriously. Bringing unserved and underserved regions of Virginia and America into the digital revolution has the potential to expand economic opportunity, improve the lives of millions, and fuel our economy.
Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime an issue that concerns you comes before the House. It’s an honor to serve you and Virginia’s First District in the People’s House.