Today, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, held a field hearing in Springfield, Illinois to review the role of broadband access in rural economic development. Members of the Committee heard testimony from a panel of witnesses on how access to rural broadband provides opportunities in healthcare, education, and market access. They also examined some of the challenges, such as lack of infrastructure, to realizing the full potential of rural economic growth.
"As our panel of witnesses can attest, economic development can be bolstered by connecting rural communities with information, services, and markets. Throughout our hearings this year we have been working to identify opportunities to streamline programs and application processes, and identify where scarce federal funds should be deployed. Through the discussion today, we heard how infrastructure programs are reaching the most remote areas, to address issues related to negative economic and population growth in rural communities," said Chairman Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL).
"This field hearing provided an opportunity for the subcommittee to see and hear firsthand how broadband providers and users in Illinois are harnessing the full potential of the technology to connect rural America to the global economy. The growth in demand for broadband can be seen all across rural America, and programs like those administered by USDA's Rural Utilities Service will remain instrumental in not only expanding broadband access to rural areas but in driving the economic growth that creates jobs and makes our rural communities livable and prosperous," said Ranking Member Jim Costa (D-CA).