Correction: Previously, this article inaccurately stated that the bill was introduced by two Democratic senators. We have corrected the error.
Two senators introduced bipartisan legislation on Tuesday aimed at expanding internet access in rural communities.
Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) said the bill, known as the Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act, would require the Federal Communications Commission to set a national “reasonably comparable” benchmark for rural and urban areas.
“Now, more than ever, broadband is a powerful tool that students and businesses need to compete in a global digital economy,” Capito said in a statement. “While progress has been made, too many rural areas continue to fall behind. ... By providing greater access to rural broadband, we can help more communities and businesses compete, grow, and succeed.”
Now, more than ever, #broadband is a powerful tool that students and businesses need to compete in a global digital economy. Learn about my latest effort to ensure our rural communities have access to high-speed internet: https://t.co/5UlF1OwrS6
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) February 13, 2018
Hassan said in a statement that in order for people and businesses in rural communities to compete in the 21st century, they need the same internet access as those in urban centers.
The people and businesses in our rural communities need the same access that urban centers have to reliable and fast mobile and broadband services if they are to compete in the 21st century innovation economy.
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) February 13, 2018
“This bipartisan bill will help bridge the urban-rural digital divide that has persisted for far too long by directing the FCC to establish a national standard to ensure that rural and urban areas have similar access to wireless and broadband services,” Hassan said. “I will continue working across the aisle to move this commonsense measure forward.”
A companion bill was introduced in the House last year by Reps. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).