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Wittman Pushes for Rural Broadband Access

Wittman Pushes for Rural Broadband Access


WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Congressman Rob Wittman attended the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association Annual Cable Show (VCTA) where he discussed the importance of expanding access to broadband in rural Virginia.


“Almost half of rural Virginians lack access to high-speed internet and another 29% lack access to any internet service at all,” Wittman said. “Many often only have one provider or even none. My Broadband Taskforce seeks to find solutions whether legislatively or locally, that will bring high-speed broadband to the truly unserved areas of Virginia’s First District. At our last meeting in October, we hosted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, industry stakeholders, and state and local leaders represented from every county in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. At this meeting we discussed eliminating the labyrinth of red tape and regulations, defining prescriptive easements, establishing dig once policies, and strengthening public private partnerships. Lack of access to high-speed internet prevents many of my constituents from accessing the full benefits of the digital age. This includes telemedicine, online education, and applications that help small businesses compete in the 21st Century.”


Congressman Wittman spoke in an interview style format with Joanna McIntosh, NCTA Senior Vice President for Government Relations, answering questions about the work he has done to increase access to broadband internet. Rep. Wittman also met with leaders in the cable industry as well as major Virginia broadband stakeholders. These are all leading partners in trying to reach the underserved.


“It is no longer acceptable for families to be spending late nights in the parking lot of the local library or McDonalds as their children use Wi-Fi to finish their homework,” Wittman continued. “There is no better time to help bring millions of people into the digital world. However, we must ensure that these policies target the truly underserved areas of America. Achieving this will expand economic opportunity, improve the lives of millions, and fuel our economy.”


On January 17, 2018 Congressman Wittman sent a letterto the Trump Administration advocating for increasing access to broadband in rural areas. Rep. Wittman urged the administration to include policies promoting broadband investments in any upcoming infrastructure package. Rep. Wittman has been a leader on promoting access to broadband in rural areas. In October, the Congressman organized the creation and first meeting of a Rural Broadband Task Force. At the Northern Neck Electrical Cooperative, Congressman Wittman was joined by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, regional stakeholders, and state and local officials to discuss ways of improving speeds and expanding internet access. A video of the entire event is availablehere.


VCTA membership is comprised of System Members and Associate Members. System Members are cable systems operating in Virginia, and there are presently 10 System Members serving homes and businesses across Virginia. Associate Members currently number more than 100 and are individuals, firms, and corporations who provide goods and services to the Virginia cable industry.


Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.


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