Spanberger highlights Central Virginia in hearing on rural broadband

Abigail SpanbergerRep. Abigail Spanberger articulated the clear need for expanded rural broadband across Central Virginia, and she emphasized the educational and economic inequities created by a lack of reliable high-speed internet in rural communities.  

During a hearing focused on the benefits of high-speed internet in rural America, Spanberger shared the stories of Central Virginians who are currently facing unnecessary challenges due to the absence of broadband internet in their community. She collected their stories through her 2019 Rural Broadband Survey, in which she asked Central Virginians to describe how a lack of reliable broadband access has personally impacted them, their families, or their businesses.Click here to watch her remarks.

“Fundamentally, the issue of broadband connectivity is an issue of access to opportunity. While we’ve made improvements over the past few decades in boosting high-speed internet access in rural America, we haven’t adequately addressed the need for new and expanded broadband infrastructure in rural areas—including in portions of Central Virginia. This continued need for broadband access creates a growing divide between educational and economic opportunities available in our rural communities compared to those found in our suburban communities,” said Spanberger. “The constituents’ stories I shared highlight how a lack of broadband access can slow down farm operations, make it difficult for rural students to complete their homework, and limit healthcare resources available to rural patients. This divide is solvable, but we need to demonstrate the willpower to close the gap. I’ll keep fighting to provide the resources needed to support greater access to high-speed internet for all Central Virginians, and I look forward to hearing from additional families, businesses, and community leaders in our district about ways we can achieve progress on this critical, locally-focused infrastructure issue.”

Rural residents are significantly less likely than residents of urban areas to have in-home broadband internet. This digital gap can create long-lasting consequences for working families, students, and farmers—and it can hamper the ability of healthcare professionals, first responders, and law enforcement to perform their jobs effectively.

This hearing was held by the House Agriculture Committee’s Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee—on which Spanberger serves as a Member. She also serves as Chair of the House Agriculture Committee’s Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee.

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