Congressman Butterfield Joins Task Force on Rural Broadband

May 13, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Butterfield announced that he is joining a new House Task Force on Rural Broadband chaired by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. The Task Force seeks to provide coordination and leadership to end the rural-digital divide and will work to advance solutions to ensure all Americans have access to high-speed internet by 2025.

“Though high-speed Internet has propelled the 21st-century economy forward, it hasn’t taken every American along with it. Across our country, 24 million people lack access to high speed Internet, and millions of low-income families simply can’t afford it,” said Rep. Butterfield. “I am proud to join this Task Force on Rural Broadband to give this matter the attention it deserves. It is imperative that we use our efforts to ensure that underserved communities in North Carolina and across the country have universal access to reliable and affordable broadband. As Democrats in the House act to improve our nation’s infrastructure we must now work together to address the digital divide and achieve our goal of a fully connected rural America.”

“I’m pleased that Congressman Butterfield is joining the House Task Force on Rural Broadband Task Force to ensure that all Americans can compete in the 21st century economy,” said House Majority Whip James Clyburn. “High-speed internet is an essential service in America today—yet too many of our fellow citizens in rural communities are being left behind. It’s unacceptable in 2019 that many rural communities have limited to no access to the internet. If rural America is to thrive in the 21st century information economy, it must have affordable and accessible internet service to every community.”

More than $60 billion in public resources have been invested to bring broadband to rural America; however, the FCC reports 25 million rural Americans are still without high-speed internet access. High-speed internet is a modern-day necessity and every Americans should have the ability to access affordable high-speed internet.

The Task Force will consult with key stakeholders, including rural advocates, market participants, local governments, and Administration officials to develop strategies to eliminate digital deserts and ensure rural Americans can thrive in the 21st century information economy. Top priorities include:

  • highlighting success stories and innovative approaches;
  • ensuring that federal funding for rural broadband is spent effectively;
  • identifying necessary steps to position the United States to lead the world in universal broadband deployment; and
  • passing legislation to advance a transformative agenda on rural broadband that accomplishes the goal of affordable universal access by 2025.