BOWLING GREEN, OH - Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) hosted a discussion in Defiance with Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly on efforts to expand access to rural broadband yesterday. The conversation included representatives from broadband providers from Ohio’s 5th Congressional District. Latta serves as Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which has oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The conversation touched on a number of issues including improving the maps used by the FCC to determine broadband coverage.
In December, the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, legislation authored by Latta to improve access to broadband in rural communities became law as part of the Farm Bill. Congressman Latta also serves as Co-Chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus.
“Improving access to broadband and closing the ‘digital divide’ is one of my top priorities as Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology,” Latta said, “The current FCC has taken numerous steps to ensure that more Americans are able to use high-speed Internet, and I appreciate Commissioner O’Rielly coming to Northwest Ohio yesterday to discuss the next steps. Both the Commissioner and I will go back to Washington with new information on how we can reduce barriers for providers to expand access to broadband in rural communities."
According to recent draft report circulated by the FCC, Americans without access to high-speed broadband dropped by 25% in one year, with most of those gains being made in rural areas. Commissioner O’Rielly was the second FCC Commissioner to visit the region this week as Commissioner Brendan Carr joined the Congressman for a number of stops on Tuesday.