WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today commended President Trump’s plan to strengthen rural America by boosting economic development, supporting workers, and reducing federal regulations. In his address to the American Farm Bureau Convention – the first speech to the group by a sitting President since 1992 – Trump singled out the importance of expanding broadband to delivering prosperity in rural parts of the country.
“This country is at its best when those living in rural America are given the opportunity to succeed,” Wicker said. “Closing the digital divide by expanding high-speed broadband – fiber and wireless – is critical to achieving that success. I share President Trump’s commitment to delivering this service to rural economies, which can help create jobs, improve health care, and benefit our farmers and ranchers.”
In April 2017, President Trump convened a task force to identify ways in which the federal government can support rural America. The panel identified four specific areas: economic development through regulatory reform, access to capital, and tax reform; innovation and technology; workforce training; and improving overall quality by means of better educational opportunities, housing, and infrastructure.
Wicker has been active in the Administration’s efforts to modernize rural broadband access. In June 2017, Wicker attended a meeting with President Trump and the White House Office of American Innovation to discuss options for modernizing federal technology systems and policies. Wicker has used his position as Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet to chair hearings on the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Fund, which is used to help expand broadband service in rural America.
Wicker also authored the “Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017” to require the FCC to standardize broadband coverage data, ensuring that federal funds are spent on deploying broadband in rural communities that truly need it.