Rural America is remaining a region of the broadband have-nots. Thousands of the smallest communities and remote areas outside of the towns either lack broadband or have a single service that can be costly and offer relatively low speeds, inadequate for modern business demands. The combination of T-Mobile’s and AT&T’s wireless spectrum will fill that gap and bring to rural areas a truly robust service, spanning mountains that make wired infrastructures cost prohibitive.
President Barack Obama has set a national goal of 98 percent of all Americans having access to broadband within five years. The AT&T and T-Mobile merger standing alone will virtually achieve that goal.
I have a rural perspective. I devoted most of my Congressional career to the pursuit of rural opportunity through the use of the latest information technologies in remote regions. Today, we are poised to take the next transformative step, bringing broadband to the hardest to serve communities, enabling them at last to achieve their long-held quality-of-life goals, improving the lives of rural residents and bettering the entire nation, which will benefit through truly national connectivity.
Former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) is honorary chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.