Daines Pushes to Expand Rural Broadband

Click here to watch Daines’ remarks.

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Senator Steve Daines today pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to close the gap in connectivity between rural and urban areas. Daines called on the FCC to expand connectivity in rural regions to minimize the divide that currently exists in delivery of broadband service.

“Access to technology removes geography as a constraint and allows Montanans to start and grow world-class companies,” Daines stated. “But we still have a lot of issues to overcome to connect our unserved communities and the FCC plays a big role.”

Last week, Daines pressed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and Rural Utilities Service officials on the need for swift action to provide broadband for thousands of rural Montanans who currently are without service. Earlier this summer, Daines led a bipartisan effort to ensure the federal government prioritizes high-speed broadband access for rural Americans.

In a letter signed by more than a dozen Senators, Daines pressed Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Co-Chairs of the Broadband Opportunity Council, for a detailed analysis of the various federal broadband initiatives that can be coordinated across agencies to bridge the digital divide and bring rural America into the 21st century. This report was released on August 20. 

Daines is an original cosponsor of the Streamlining and Investing in Broadband Infrastructure Act that would ensure states simultaneously install broadband conduits as part of certain federal transportation projects — known as “dig once.”

Daines also successfully worked to include provisions in the FY2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act that addresses the lack of broadband deployment in rural areas and in tribal communities, as well as call completion issues that continues to affect rural communities.