Graves Urges Commitment to Expanded Broadband Infrastructure in Rural Communities

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Washington, D.C., May 12, 2010 | Alexandra Haynes ((202) 225-5821) | comments

At today’s House Small Business Committee hearing on the impact that broadband services have on small businesses, the economy and job creation, Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) expressed concern about the lack of broadband infrastructure in rural America.

Ranking Member Graves said, “The Internet and related technologies are not as widespread as we would like to think.  There is a severe lack of appropriate infrastructure that limits many American communities, businesses, and families from gaining full access to these services.  Rural areas in many states are particularly likely to lack the infrastructure needed to allow them to benefit from this vital technology. Without access to affordable broadband services, the economies and development of these communities can suffer.

“Whatever policies this government adopts with regard to technology and broadband, we must first make a commitment to ensuring that small businesses and rural communities will benefit from this infrastructure investment.  Regulatory policies that diminish the incentive for such private sector investment will benefit neither small businesses nor the economy that will rely on them for growth needed to create jobs.”

Five small business owners from across the country delivered testimony explaining how they utilize broadband services to run their business.  Tom McDonald, CEO of BeSafe Technologies in Hyannis, Massachusetts, discussed his company’s dependency on broadband as an efficient way to deliver critical information to his customers.  Mr. McDonald said that the expansion of broadband has been integral to his company’s development and growth, and encouraged the continued investment in broadband technology to help other small business owners succeed.

Ranking Member Graves asked witnesses to share their views on the barriers they have encountered when attempting to reach customers in rural areas.  Witnesses overwhelmingly agreed that broadband technology, when available, has made it easier to work with customers in rural America.  Unfortunately, witnesses acknowledged that there are many areas that suffer from a lack of broadband infrastructure, making it very difficult to do business. 

For additional video footage of the hearing, click here.

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