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“Rural broadband is vital for the success of our rural communities and for the entire economy.”
Special to the News
Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continued his push for rural broadband expansion on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Earlier this year, Tuberville was named as the top Republican on the Senate AG Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, which positions him to advocate for rural broadband expansion on behalf of Alabamians.
Tuberville recently led his first hearing on this topic, fulfilling a promise to make rural broadband expansion one of his top priorities in discussions surrounding the 2023 Farm Bill.
Excerpts from Tuberville’s remarks can be found below, and his full remarks can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=tam3SVLCM0Y.
“I recently had the honor of becoming ranking member of the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s broadband programs. My top priority as ranking member is expanding broadband access to unserved populations who need it most so our rural communities are not left behind.”
“In today’s economy, people need fast and reliable internet to work, to go to school, [have] virtual meetings, and even see their doctor through telemedicine.”
“Our farmers need an internet signal to operate their farms, their facilities, drive tractors, irrigate crops, apply pesticides, and implement precision agriculture technologies. Without [it] they do not have an opportunity to compete. Recently, the USDA increased the requirements for sufficient broadband access from speeds of (25/3) Megabits per second to (100/20) Megabits per second download and upload speeds. Yet one out of 10 people in my state of Alabama don’t even meet the previous (25/3) threshold.”
“Later this year we’ll have a farm bill coming up in Congress. Very important. We need to ensure that expanding rural broadband is included in this year’s farm bill.”
As Alabama’s first elected senator to serve on the Senate AG Committee since 1997, Tuberville is committed to giving Alabama’s rural and farming communities a seat at the table for key agriculture negotiations.
In the recent AG Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee hearing titled “Rural Broadband: Connecting our Communities to the Digital Economy,” Tuberville invited CEO of Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative (FTC) Fred Johnson of Rainsville to speak about the importance of increased service access speed for rural areas and successful methods he’s found through his work.
Tuberville also helped introduce the bipartisan Broadband Grant Tax Treatment Act (BGTTA) to amend the Internal Revenue Code to ensure that federal grant funding for broadband deployment isn’t considered taxable income.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the U.S. Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP committees.