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Wittman, Co-Chairs Launch Bipartisan Rural Broadband Caucus for the 118th Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus, Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), Representatives James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06), Bob Latta (R-OH-05), Annie Kuster (D-NH-02), Tim Walberg (R-MI-05), Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Richard Hudson (R-NC-09), and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM-03), announced the continuation of the Caucus in the 118th Congress.

Since 2016, the Caucus, with more than 60 Members from both sides of the aisle, has collaborated to champion forward-looking, bipartisan policies to close the digital divide across our country. These efforts have contributed to the deployment of affordable, high-speed internet service in unserved and underserved rural communities.

In 2023, millions of Americans still lack a reliable, high-speed connection at home. The Caucus is focused on bringing together leaders from the federal government, states, and the private sector to close this gap and make high-speed internet service accessible for all Americans.

“Closing the digital divide must be a bipartisan whole-of-government approach, which is why I am encouraged by our efforts on the Bipartisan Rural Broadband Caucus,” said Rep. Wittman. “As demonstrated in recent years, high speed broadband has the potential to revolutionize the way we live, and expanding high-speed internet is critical to economic development and growth in our nation. It is vital Congress works together to remove policies hindering broadband access in rural areas, and I am proud of the strides we have made so far. I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their leadership in expanding broadband access to Americans, and I look forward to our work in the 118th Congress.”

“Our efforts to deploy affordable, high-speed internet service is the modern equivalent of rural electrification in the 20th century,” said Rep. Clyburn. “Without a reliable connection and meaningful adoption, rural and underserved communities will continue to be left behind in education, health care, and commerce. I look forward to collaborating with the Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus to build on our efforts to finally close the digital divide.”

“In this day and age, access to the internet is absolutely essential for communicating and working with others,” said Rep. Latta. “Ensuring Ohioans and people across the country have access to reliable internet via rural broadband has long been a priority of mine in Congress. That’s why I am honored to serve once again as Co-Chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus in the 118th Congress. I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner to advance solutions that close the digital divide and ensure federal dollars for broadband deployment are directed to unserved and underserved communities in Ohio and across America.”

“Whether it is a small business connecting with customers online or families receiving critical telehealth from home, access to quality and affordable broadband is crucial for rural communities across our country,” said Rep. Kuster. “COVID-19 accelerated our reliance on the internet to stay connected, and rural states like New Hampshire need confidence that they will have internet access when they need it most. I’m proud to once again join the Bipartisan Rural Broadband Caucus, this time as a co-chair, to close the digital divide and deliver for communities nationwide.”

“Access to a reliable, high-speed internet connection is essential for families, farmers, and small businesses throughout Michigan,” said Rep. Walberg. “That’s why I’m honored to serve as a Co-Chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus in the 118th Congress. I look forward to working with my colleagues on policies that will bridge the digital divide, address the homework gap, and finally connect the truly unserved and underserved across the country.”

“In the 21st century, broadband is vital to the success of every small business, school, hospital and family, particularly in our rural communities,” said Rep. Craig. “As a member of the bipartisan Rural Broadband Caucus, I look forward to working across the aisle to ensure that closing the digital divide stays at the top of Congress’ agenda and that we provide our rural communities with the tools they need to succeed in today’s economy.”

“Expanding access to broadband for rural communities in North Carolina has remained a top priority for me, and I believe this caucus is well-positioned to deliver the much-needed results our constituents deserve,” said Rep. Hudson. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Rural Broadband Caucus to help close the digital divide in rural communities across the country.”

“An investment in broadband is an investment in our rural communities. It is an investment in education, health care, children, businesses, our economy, our families, and so much more,” said Rep. Leger Fernández. “Many New Mexicans don’t have reliable access to high-speed internet. We cannot leave these communities behind without the tools to truly thrive in a 21st century economy.  I look forward to working with the Rural Broadband Caucus to help all New Mexicans access this critical infrastructure."