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Baldwin to FCC: Close the Rural Broadband Gap

Bipartisan Call to Expand Mobile Network in Rural America


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined a bipartisan group of 26 senators in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) Mobility Fund, which is aimed at providing broadband service to rural and underserved areas. The bipartisan group, led by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler calling for the agency to prioritize new mobile broadband deployment in these areas as well as preserve and upgrade mobile broadband where it is currently available.

“The expansion of rural broadband should be a top priority of federal and state policymakers, as expanded deployment in rural areas will address important economic, educational, health care, and public safety goals,” wrote the senators. “Ongoing USF reform can provide a mechanism for enabling mobile broadband access in rural communities where “people live, work, and travel” that is truly comparable to broadband services provided in urban and suburban areas.  To accomplish this goal, USF should support mobile broadband at a minimum of today’s level to close the coverage gap while preserving existing service.”

The letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Gary Peters (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), David Vitter (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

A copy of the letter is available here