Pocan Launches Bipartisan Rural Broadband Caucus
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) launched the bipartisan Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus with Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Bob Latta (R-OH) to facilitate discussion, educate Members of Congress and develop policy solutions to close the digital divide in rural America.
“Access to reliable, high-speed internet service is vital to economic growth in communities across America,” said Rep. Pocan. “Whether, it is for commerce, education or public safety needs, broadband service allows individuals and businesses in rural communities to take advantage of new technologies and stay connected to a 21st Century economy. There are many parts of my district where residents experience extremely slow download speeds even as low as one megabit per second.”
Several communities in Wisconsin’s Second Congressional District, including the towns of Vermont and Cross Plains, have publicly adopted resolutions voicing concerns over the lack of quality broadband service available to residents.
“Broadband access is not a luxury, rather it is a necessity,” Rep. Pocan continued. “I want to ensure people in my district, and across the country in rural areas, have updated broadband infrastructure and access to a reliable connection.”
A significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America: More than half of all rural Americans lack access to this basic standard of service. In 2015, the FCC updated its broadband benchmark speeds to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. According to the FCC, using this updated benchmark, the 2015 report finds that 55 million Americans – 17 percent of the population – lack access to advanced broadband.