WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Greg Walden released a statement following yesterday’s House passage of two bills Walden co-sponsored that would help improve and expand access to rural broadband in Oregon.
“Yesterday the House passed two bipartisan bills that will help communities in places like rural Oregon get access to reliable, high-speed broadband,” said Walden. “For example, John Day’s lack of reliable access to internet services has resulted in local businesses at times having to manually process credit cards, making it hard for them to do business. The bills we passed today will help improve broadband mapping, which will enable us to better understand exactly where communities are that still lack high-speed internet access. We need to know this before we make investments in broadband build-out so we get the help where it is needed. This effort will strengthen connectivity in America and help lessen the urban/rural digital divide.”
Walden has been a longtime advocate for expanding rural broadband. Earlier this month, he spoke at an Energy and Commerce hearing about this issue, saying, “far too many Oregonians still lack access to reliable broadband.”
Last year, Walden brought Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai out to eastern Oregon to discuss efforts to improve connectivity in rural communities, including making sure patients in remote areas have access to the best doctors through technology like Telehealth.
Walden also helped secure a $6 million grant to John Day earlier this month, which will help expand rural broadband in Grant and Wheeler counties. He remains committed to continuing to ensure that rural Oregonians have sufficient access to broadband and thus access to things like telemedicine, remote learning, next-generation emergency services, and video streaming.