Sen. Capito: Broadband Should Be Key Trump Infrastructure Priority

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged a trillion-dollar infrastructure makeover. Broadband buildout backers want to make sure that is a priority of that effort.

In a letter to Trump, Sen. Shelley Capito (R-W.Va.) asked that broadband deployment be a "core component." Capito pointed out that as many as 74% of the residents of her state lack what she called "proper access" to broadband services.

Capito pointed to an FCC study that found that 56% of West Virginia resident don't have access to broadband services that meet its benchmark speeds and as high as 74% in rural parts of the state.

“West Virginia needs to grow and diversify its overall economy, and internet access is fundamental to that transition," she said. "It is essential that all communities have access to internet platforms that will help them connect and compete on a global scale. Small, rural communities across my state lack this fundamental infrastructure – and lack access to vital opportunities as a result."

Capito suggested that deregulation and increased accountability were the way to go, including "reducing barriers to investment in infrastructure, streamlining the regulatory environment for wireless providers, encouraging public-private partnerships, and ensuring accountability on behalf of the taxpayer for federally funded projects."

On a press call with the Trump transition team Monday, a spokesman, calling it the "social media stat of the day," pointed out that the President-elect's Facebook posts from the Army-Navy game resulted in over 1 million likes.

Given that the President-elect likes to communicate with the American people through Twitter and Facebook, a Trump transition team spokesperson was asked about the Capito request. He did not talk specifics, but did tell B&C that "broadband is obviously very important and I would assume that that will be something that the President-elect will be addressing as we start talking about nation's infrastructure needs after he is sworn in next month."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.