Back to Top

Rural Broadband

Positions on Community Connectivity and Net Neutrality
By John Suddarth
Democratic Candidate for Congress
April 22, 2018

Wittman has suddenly called for rural broadband but has done nothing in Congress over the last 11 years to actually make it happen.  He must sense there is an election coming up!

Access to High Speed Broadband Internet

High speed, broadband internet is a modern day necessity. Our Founding Fathers understood the importance of communication in connecting communities and put the basis of the modern day postal service in the US Constitution.  Today, access to high speed internet is important for education, healthcare, commerce, communication, and entertainment. Those communities without it are at a distinct disadvantage in each of these areas. 
 
While republicans may believe the free market takes care of all of our needs, the truth is, as any trained economist knows, that capital formation and private action requires a commensurate potential for profit that is not always present within a rural community.  When the free market does not provide a modern day necessity, the government must step in to help.  Help may be with capital formation to fund a project, the creation of a public-private partnership, a public utility, or other means.  
 
It was with this understanding the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 was passed to bring electricity across our country, even when and where private enterprise would not do it.  We all know what a positive impact electricity has had on our economy and quality of life but it would not have happened had the federal government not intervened. Lack of broadband internet in rural areas is a modern example of where the government must step in to ensure the well-being of our citizens. 
 
To make matters worse, internet providers have actively and successfully urged legislatures to prevent local governments from stepping and providing high speed internet when private enterprise did not and governors have signed the resulting legislation.  This happened, unfortunately, here in Virginia.
 
There are two federal bills I would support to bring high speed broadband internet across our District. The Republicans have not let these come to the floor. 
 
The first is The Community Broadband Act of 2018.   The Community Broadband Act would prevent states or municipalities from creating laws to prevent their jurisdictions from creating their own broadband internet networks.

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA18) as H.R. 4814 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr4814> , and in the Senate by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) as S. 742 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s742> .

The second is the New Deal Rural Broadband act of 2017.  This bill amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to establish a rural broadband office within the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and authorize new grants and loans for developing broadband in rural, underserved, and tribal areas. Just as the original act brought electricity to homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses across our nation, the amendment would do with broadband.

My position is that affordable to high speed broadband internet is a modern day necessity and the government must step in to ensure that every citizen in our District has access to it.

Net Neutrality

From Wikipedia, Net neutrality is the principle that governments should mandate Internet service providers <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_service_provider>  to treat all data on the Internet <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet>  the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.[4] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality#cite_note-4>  For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

Net neutrality was assured by the Obama Administration but the FCC under President Trump has repealed it, under encouragement from moneyed interests, particularly service providers who want to differentiate internet service to charge more for higher speed access to non-affiliated sites.  This is wrong and against the best interest of citizens. Were I in Congress, I would have voted against the repeal had it been allowed to come to the floor under the Congressional Review Act.


Committee to Elect John Suddarth
Powered by CampaignPartner.com - Political Campaign Websites