Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) on Wednesday afternoon sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting emergency funds be directed to expanding rural broadband access.
With more people across the nation working and learning from home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is an even greater strain in unserved and underserved areas when it comes to high-speed internet services, further placing an emphasis on the digital divide in places like Alabama.
In his letter, Aderholt also pointed to rural broadband deficiencies as negatively impacting the ability of people in rural areas to utilize telehealth services, which are being recommended to limit the potential spread of coronavirus.
“These new realities have left millions of rural Americans who have little or no access to broadband feeling abandoned and desperately in need of help,” the congressman wrote.
“As you negotiate with Congress on upcoming emergency legislation regarding COVID-19, I strongly urge you to prioritize the expeditious delivery of broadband to rural areas to ensure students have access to remote educational services and residents have full access to telehealth services,” Aderholt continued. “I applaud your strong leadership through this national emergency as your administration works to change the trajectory of COVID-19 and slow its spread, and simply ask that you not forget rural Americans who are forced to face the consequences of the digital divide as new containment measures are implemented.”
Aderholt is a senior member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee and is considered a leading champion in Congress of expanding rural broadband access.
UPDATE 5:50 p.m.
Aderholt released a video about his letter.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn