Letter to Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid, and Mitchell McConnell - Leadership of the House of Representatives
Concerned that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act may not sufficiently fund broadband initiatives, Congressman Zack Space (OH-18) today issued a letter to House and Senate leadership encouraging them to keep broadband funding in the bill. The letter was signed by 29 Members of Congress, many of whom serve with Space on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
"Broadband projects serve two distinct goals: they put people to work immediately, and then create long-term economic growth," Space said. "Our rural areas specifically fall farther behind every day they do not have access to this vital technology."
"Given the amount of business that takes place using high-speed internet technology, it is hard to imagine any company would choose to locate in an area that cannot provide this basic infrastructure. The recovery plan aims at getting people to work quickly and supporting long-term growth. Broadband expansion accomplishes both of these goals," Space continued.
Congressman Space has represented Ohio's 18th Congressional District since 2007. He is working to restore integrity to the office, expand Ohio's economy, and support renewable energy.
The letter is reprinted below:
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, and Minority Leader McConnell,
We write out of concern for maintaining funds for broadband in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
As Congress works to finalize this recovery package to revive our nation's struggling economy, we request that the final legislation maintain provisions that would support improved access to broadband internet. President Obama has repeatedly announced his support for such provisions, and we ask that you join him in creating final legislation that will enhance access to this critical service.
The United States lags in access to broadband internet when compared to other developed nations. Studies rank the United States as low as 24th amongst developed nations in access to this vital infrastructure, a disturbing notion given the importance of broadband in the modern economy.
Support from the federal government is imperative for improving broadband deployment around the country. While providers have made great strides to make this technology more readily available, sparse markets and challenging geographical terrain limit their ability to reach some areas of this country.
While some have argued broadband expansion provisions will not generate employment opportunities, improved access to broadband has been proven to create jobs. A study performed by Connected Nation earlier this year suggests that enhanced access to broadband could create or save more than 2.3 million jobs, and offer a payout of more than $134 billion annually.
In addition to the jobs directly created by the necessary infrastructure improvements, enhanced access to broadband creates new opportunities for high-tech industries in America's rural and underserved areas. Lack of adequate access to broadband discourages economic development in these regions, preventing economic expansion in many of the regions bearing the largest brunt of the present recession.
We appreciate the inclusion of $6 billion for rural broadband in the House version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We now respectfully request that this funding be maintained though the conference process to continue broadband deployment efforts so critical to economic development. By offering financial support to efforts to enhance broadband access, this Congress can lead the way in creating new economic opportunity for Americans in underserved areas.
Zack Space; Rick Boucher; Eliot L. Engel; Bruce Braley; Peter Welch; Michael Arcuri; Charlie Wilson; John Dingell; Bart Stupak; Doris O. Matsui; Betty Sutton; Christopher P. Carney; Henry Cuellar; Ann Kirkpatrick; Phil Hare; Glenn Nye; David Loebsack; Paul Hodes; Harry Teague; Martin Heinrich; Gabrielle Giffords; Ciro D. Rodriguez; Maurice D. Hinchey; Steve Kagen; Tim Ryan; Chellie Pingree; Travis Childers; Timothy J. Walz; Maxine Waters