Klobuchar Criticizes Rural-Access Cuts
In response to President Bush's budget, Minnesota's new Senator, Amy Klobuchar, decried cuts to a program providing loans to assist communities in creating Internet infrastructure.
Klobuchar joined with several other Senators representing large rural populations in issuing a "Rural Report Card," detailing programs reaching out to rural communities. Internet access is a major part of the Report Card, which notes that $203 million will be cut from the mandatory loan program for the 2008 fiscal year, a 40% reduction from the previous year.
According to a 2006 Pew study, only 25% of rural Minnesotans had high-speed access, reinforcing the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Klobuchar said that a commitment to high-speed Internet service is a crucial investment for rural economies.
"I've always said that kids that grow up in rural America should be able to live and work in rural America. Broadband is critical for that to happen. Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought us rural electrification, Dwight Eisenhower brought us the interstate highway system, and it is our job to bring broadband to all corners of this country."
It's encouraging legislators like Klobuchar taking seriously the importance of high-speed Internet to her constituents and to the economy. Federal commitment to expanded Internet access is a necessary component of a true national Internet strategy.
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