WASHINGTON (NEWS10) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says 35% of Americans living in rural areas don’t have access to the internet.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to change that. He has the support from both parties, but some are saying his plan is too expensive.
Pai says he wants every single American to have internet access in at least 10 years, but that connectivity comes at a cost.
Pai has rolled out several plans to expand internet connection to rural area. One is a $2 billion plan that would expand wired broadband, that’s the cable and fiber internet that connects directly to your home.
“There is also a $4.5 billion plan that over the next decade will make sure that every part of America is covered by 4G LTE’s, that you don’t see these dead zones,” Pai said.
In order to make his plans a reality, Pai needs the support of both parties.
Last week, 56 senators wrote this letter to the chairman supporting his plan but asking him to keep the cost for the consumer low.
“It matters when you’re not connected,” Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) said.
Sen. Blunt says expanding high-speed internet to rural parts of his state will quote “benefit farmers and ranchers, expand access to health care, and improve the quality of education.”
Only if they can afford it.
“It matters when opportunities that you would otherwise had just simply aren’t there because somehow a service that is essential in our society today isn’t available to you,” Sen. Blunt said.
Pai says he will continue to work with lawmakers to come up with bipartisan legislation to help fund his connectivity plans.
“If you build it, they will come. If you build these broadband connections businesses are going to thrive, families are going to be stronger, and America overall is going to be a lot better off,” Pai said.