Rep. Wittman Continues to Fight For Access to Broadband

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Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) has hosted another meeting of his Rural Broadband Task Force. Congressman Wittman was joined by Jim Wasilewski, Deputy Chief of Staff to Assistant Secretary David Redl/Director of Congressional Affairs at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Doug Kinkoph, Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information, and other local stakeholders who represented internet service providers, the Center for Innovative Technology, Virginia Cable and Telecommunication Association, and wireless internet service providers.  A full recording of the meeting can be found here.

Currently, almost 50% of rural Virginians either lack access to high speed internet or 29% don’t have any internet service at all. At this meeting, the Task Force discussed the unique challenges that are present in the region which hinder access to highspeed broadband services. This includes the labyrinth of red tape and regulations, cost of service, and varying geographic obstacles. Congressman Wittman believes that by addressing these issues and engaging federal agencies and other private stakeholders with localities, we can help bridge the digital divide.

 “Today we reached an action plan of things that we can do in our office and items that can be accomplished through policy at the federal agency level,” Wittman said. “We took several comments from the audience and will continue to make the effort to incorporate the concerns and ideas of the community. To be successful we must define the unique elements of this area. We don’t want our efforts here to hurt existing businesses; we need to be coordinating and understanding how to best help all members of the community.”

 The Taskforce also discussed services at the federal level that could help localities. Mr. Wasilewski discussed the federal program Broadband USA, which provides direct technical assistance to communities around the country, offers workshops to help local leaders solve problems, and create toolkits that help educate localities. This program works to expand access to broadband, as this is a key economic driver in America.


By Prince William Living



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