June 19, 2024

Marshall Requests Funding for Small Broadband Providers Supporting Rural Communities

U.S. Congressmen Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday urging support for dedicated funding for small broadband providers responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“Now more than ever we’re seeing how important it is to have access to a fast and reliable broadband connection,” said Rep. Marshall. “With the closure of Kansas schools along with more and more people adopting teleworking procedures, our rural telecommunications providers are working around the clock to ensure students, communities, and businesses have reliable internet access, no matter where they live. Broadband is also vital to our healthcare providers who are now delivering services over the phone as well as to farmers who are in the field planting spring crops. This bill will provide assistance to small companies trying to address the unique rural telecommunications needs posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure that all Americans can remain connected during this difficult time.”

Last month, Rep. Marshall and Rep. Welch introduced the bipartisan Keeping Critical Connections Act, which would create a temporary emergency fund at the FCC to help small providers continue to provide critically necessary connections for voice, distance learning, and telehealth during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Including this bill in the next expected relief package would ensure that broadband providers could continue operating during this crisis.

“Many small broadband providers signed FCC Chairman Pai’s pledge to keep American families connected during the outbreak, regardless of their ability to pay while also increasing broadband speeds and connecting families that were previously without internet service,” said Rep. Marshall. “These services are impactful to families, communities, agriculture and medical professionals but are not without cost to the broadband providers, and if asked to continue long-term, could create severe financial hardship for small providers.”

 See a complete copy of the letter HERE.