Dear Chairman Doyle and Ranking Member Latta:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Technology Engagement Center (“C_TEC”) applauds the Communications & Technology Subcommittee for hosting its COVID-19 teleconference with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of broadband to facilitate working from home, telemedicine, e-commerce, food delivery, and education.
Chairman Pai’s leadership has enabled the nation’s communications infrastructure to weather the challenges posed by the pandemic. He led a voluntary effort by broadband providers to continue service to customers experiencing economic hardship. The Commission’s regulatory approach to the Internet has spurred investment and contributed to narrowing the Digital Divide.
Unfortunately, many Americans do not have access to high-speed Internet, particularly in rural America. A C_TEC report from last year highlighted that adoption of digital tools by rural small businesses (many of which are struggling during the pandemic) would increase annual U.S. GDP by approximately $41 billion, and would create 316,605 jobs.1 Broadband will be crucial to economic recovery, especially for small businesses.
C_TEC encourages Congress to provide technology-neutral, non-duplicative targeted funding and permitting relief to ensure that unserved Americans have access to the Internet. Broadband access is a bipartisan issue and will be vital to ensuring millions of Americans are not left behind in this new digital economy, an issue rendered even more pressing by COVID-19. The Chamber stands ready to work with you.
Executive Vice President
Chamber Technology Engagement Center
cc: Members of the Subcommittee on Communications & Technology
1. Chamber Technology Engagement Center, Unlocking the Digital Potential of Rural America at 5 (March 2019) available at https://americaninnovators.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Unlocking-the-Digital-Potential-of-RuralAmerica.pdf.