03.03.16

Daines Works to Connect Rural Montana

U.S. SENATE — Senator Steve Daines today worked to increase broadband service and improve reliable connectivity for rural Montanans. 

During two Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearings this week, Daines emphasized the need for reliable broadband service throughout rural America and successfully moved forward bipartisan solutions and ensure that rural communities are not left behind.

On Wednesday, all five Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners testified before the Commerce Committee. During the hearing, Daines called on the commissioners to ensure an equitable distribution of Universal Service funds to help close the connectivity gap between urban and rural areas, including tribal communities.

Click here to download Daines’ remarks.

Click here to watch Daines’ remarks.

“Tribal lands remain among the most underserved areas in the country. Our spectrum policies must aid in deployment and adoption on tribal lands,” Daines stated. “I look forward to continuing to refine these policies and ensure that as we move forward to 5G and next generation technologies, our rural and tribal communities are not left behind.” 

Earlier today, the Committee passed the MOBILE NOW Act, which will boost the development of next-generation 5G wireless broadband by ensuring more spectrum is made available for commercial use and reducing the red tape for building wireless networks. 

Daines successfully included multiple bipartisan provisions into the MOBILE NOW Act, including measures to:

  • Ensure that as government agencies work to find more spectrum to accommodate the growing demand for wireless, they consider deployment in rural areas.
  • Incorporate broadband infrastructure into new highway projects, resulting in efficiencies that will aid broadband deployment.
  • Encourage and allow companies to lease spectrum to rural carriers, who are better equipped to serve rural areas. 

Daines’ efforts to improve rural broadband deployment were applauded by Nemont Telephone/Sagebrush Cellular.

“Wireless service is important in rural Montana and it is encouraging that Sen. Daines is making this issue a priority by encouraging the leasing of spectrum in rural areas,” Mike Kilgore, CEO of Nemont Telephone/Sagebrush Cellular stated. “Without access to spectrum, those carriers serving rural areas cannot bring much needed mobile broadband services to rural Montanans.” 

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