Positive Outcome of COVID-19, Nation Notices “Digital Divide”
WASHINGTON, DC – If lawmakers weren’t aware of the importance of broadband high-speed internet service to rural areas before COVID-19, they are well aware today. Speaking at the recent All Ag DC Capitol Ag Tour, almost every member interviewed during the event lamented the “digital divide”. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) explained that it was one of the most important issues facing his district – which covers almost half of the entire state of Arizona. The first-term Democratic member of the House Agriculture Committee agreed that Congress had made large investments to address the lack of adequate internet connectivity. He did, however, explain that Congress and the U.S. government (through the FCC and USDA) were not just throwing money at the issue, instead, they were actively involved in finding solutions through detailed work with communities. Currently, the FCC is preparing for the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction and USDA has funds available under the Community Connect Grant Program for the new Fiscal Year (FY2021).