U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) hosted a Rural Broadband Summit earlier this week at Blackburn College in Carlinville to discuss available federal resources for rural broadband services and the need for expanded services to these areas. He was joined by Douglas Wilson, State Director, Rural Development, USDA.
Davis and Wilson met with more than 25 community leaders and stakeholders from rural counties and communities in the 13th District to discuss broadband expansion. Davis spoke about how Congress and the USDA has invested heavily in broadband deployment and Wilson detailed some of the programs available through USDA Rural Development. They listened to concerns from those in attendance about the difficulty of getting broadband service to their communities and extending them to the extra mile in rural cities and towns.
“Expanding broadband Internet access is critical to communities across my district and the country. Access to broadband, ensures individuals living in rural cities and counties have the same educational and economic opportunities as people living in more urban areas,” Davis said. “I appreciated the discussion with leaders and stakeholders from across my district about their broadband needs and concerns. Congress and the USDA has invested in deploying broadband to rural areas and I want to ensure my constituents have access to these resources.”
"For small communities in rural Illinois broadband access is a huge issue. One that we need to find a resolution to not only for our schools but for the citizens of our communities. I want to thank Representative Davis and State Director Wilson for making this issue known, because it’s not just in Illinois, it’s throughout the United States. We need to have the conversation so we know where those grants and where those programs are that we can start looking into to help bring those into our communities," said Kate Sievers, Superintendent, Calhoun CUSD #40.
Electric Cooperatives: Assoc. of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, Illinois Electric Cooperative, MJM Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Education: Blackburn College, Bunker Hill CUSD #8, Calhoun CUSD #40
Broadband Provider: CTI Fiber
Mayors: Taylorville, Virden, Greenville, Litchfield, Taylor Springs, Eagarville
Economic Development: Montgomery County EDC
U of I Extension: Calhoun, Greene, Montgomery Counties
Davis' Work in Congress
Earlier this year, Davis lead a bipartisan letter signed by 72 members requesting an additional $350 million to expand rural broadband internet connectivity across rural America. The letter requested $550 million for USDA’sReConnect Program, which helps strengthen broadband internet connectivity and rural and underserved areas, and $350 million for the rural broadband loan and grant program—which was authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Additionally, Davis supports the FCC’s recent announcement of a new Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will provide $20.4 billion over 10 years to help companies deploy broadband in remote areas.