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Hill Leaders Asked to Focus on Underserved for Broadband Support

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), assistant Speaker of the House, are pressing their leadership to focus COVID-19-related rural broadband infrastructure support to historically underserved populations--people of color, those living on tribal lands. 

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"Many healthcare centers, schools and small businesses in rural and tribal communities across the country have had difficulties carrying out their daily operations without reliable, efficient broadband access," they said. 

In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, they called for supporting public-private partnership secured loans, lines of credit and loan guarantees for broadband investments, a way to both deploy broadband and help struggling local businesses. 

They pointed out that the rural broadband gap disproportionately affects communities of color, including students, and that a third of those living on tribal lands lack access to high-speed broadband at home.