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On the Issues: Broadband

Prioritizing Rural America 

Qasim Rashid believes that 21st Century communities must have broadband internet access to maximize business efficiency, education opportunities, and health care outcomes. For that reason, we need to stop thinking of broadband as a luxury. President Obama rightfully called for reclassifying internet service as a public utility. We should make that into federal law.

  • Our “Last Mile Broadband Plan” is aimed at closing the digital divide and making our communities more prosperous by giving local governments the power and resources to create broadband internet utilities to serve their residents. Click here to read our plan in detail.
  • Access to broadband internet would make rural communities more vibrant and residents more productive by improving access to education, health care, broader markets for goods, increased telecommuting, and expanded cultural resources.
  • Private markets will not allocate these resources to completing rural broadband access because firms see no return on investment on building out the last mile infrastructure.
  • Expanding broadband access to every American would cost between $20B and $350B depending on technology used, speed, and technical specifications.
  • Government subsidies in the form of $22B in loans and grants have not appreciably expanded broadband access in rural communities since 2013. This is largely because these programs use questionable data and methodologies for identifying communities that lack access.
  • Allowing state and local governments to provide internet access as a public utility is the best answer. Today, state and federal law places limits on this solution.

Qasim believes that achieving the American Dream in the 21st Century requires access to broadband internet. It is as necessary to a high quality of life as electricity and clean water. Especially now, running a business, a small farm, or educating children depends on access to high-speed internet. As Congressman, Qasim will move us forward and get this done.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]