Federal bill introduced to help rural Kansans gain better access to broadband

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Published: May. 21, 2023 at 3:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A federal bipartisan bill to help those in rural Kansas gain better access to high-speed internet has been introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall.

On Wednesday, May 17, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he introduced the ReConnect Rural America Act alongside Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). The bipartisan legislation would help rural communities gain access to high-speed broadband.

“The importance of high-speed internet cannot be understated. Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, a quality internet connection is not accessible or affordable. Our rural hospitals, schools, farms, small businesses, and families deserve a reliable and speedy internet connection to meet their family’s needs and fulfill their job requirements,” Marshall said. “I am proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with Senator Welch that would ensure the more sparsely populated areas of the country are able to access the same internet connectivity as their urban counterparts. When it comes to broadband accessibility, we need to focus on solid infrastructure that is built to last and meets the connectivity demand across every region regardless of its size.”

Sen. Marshall noted that the lack of accessibility to internet service leaves those in rural Kansas with less access to good-paying jobs, isolation from markets and lack of healthcare provider tech.

“Rural communities across the country—whether in my home state of Vermont or Sen. Marshall’s beloved Kansas—have been left behind as our economy has become increasingly digital and better connected. That’s unacceptable. Support from ReConnect can change that and help our communities close the digital divide. I’m proud to introduce the ReConnecting Rural America Act with Sen. Marshall to reauthorize and strengthen this important program,” Welch said.

Marshall indicated that supporters of the bill include the National Telephone Cooperative Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Fiber Broadband Association and Farm Credit Council.