Congressman Hal Rogers joined several House members from across the country to introduce the Universal Broadband Act earlier this week. The bipartisan federal bill will ensure rural Americans have the opportunity to access reliable broadband services. Jackson County is lucky to be the home of the Peoples Rural Telephone Co-op so the rest of rural eastern Kentucky is playing catch-up to what we already have in place. Even when life is normal (whatever that is) the fiber optic internet capabilities provided by PRTC changes everything. Medical care, education, online bill paying, online shopping, online meeting capabilities, etc are all options that help us through the demands placed on our modern lives.
The Universal Broadband Act will help sustain the Universal Service Fund (USF) by expanding its contribution base to include broadband services, rather than the current outdated model that draws support solely from telephone services. The costs of building out service to rural areas without adequate broadband continues to rise, while the current base that contributes to the USF is declining. This has resulted in an larger costs, overburdening those who are required to contribute.
“Broadband connectivity is a critical component to job creation, educational opportunities, telehealth and much more - something clearly demonstrated by COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Without access to broadband, rural America is missing out on competitive opportunities,” said Congressman Rogers. “This legislation will help shore up the fund that allows us to support broadband expansion in communities where it’s needed the most for economic development.”
Congressman Rogers joined a bipartisan delegation including Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN), Don Young (R-AK), T.J. Cox (D-CA), Angie Craig (D-MN), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Luis Correa (D-CA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Ed Case (D-HI), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) to introduce the legislation.