Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) joined Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr on tours and discussions at multiple stops in Ohio’s 5th Congressional District yesterday.
“I appreciate that Commissioner Carr is willing to leave Washington and head out on the road to see the opportunities and challenges that Americans are facing,” said Latta. “Yesterday, he was able to see three counties in Ohio’s 5th Congressional District and talk to health care providers, law enforcement, farmers, Wireless Internet Service Providers, and broadcasters in our region. Commissioner Carr and I both believe that closing the digital divide is of utmost importance, and his experience in the region will help inform his efforts at the FCC. I’ll continue my efforts as the Republican Leader on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to expand access to broadband and lower barriers to cutting-edge technology.”
The day began at ProMedica in Toledo where Rep. Latta and Commissioner Carr were able to see how the health care provider is using telehealth to diagnose and treat stroke patients when time is of the essence.
Congressman Latta and Commissioner Carr at Promedica in Lucas County
After that, Latta and Carr headed to Wood County where they met with two customers of Amplex Internet, a Wireless Internet Service Provider in the region. The first was Luckey Farmers where they learned about how they are using technology to improve agricultural operations. Commissioner Carr took a trip up to the top of a grain elevator that hosts the antenna which enables the farm to access broadband. They then took a tour of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center with Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn. The 911 dispatch center receives more than 50,000 calls a year and are utilizing the new technology to answer calls in the quickest way possible and keep the community safe.
Carr and Latta talking with Sheriff Wasylyshyn
Congressman Latta and Commissioner Carr then met with WBGU-TV, public broadcasters in Bowling Green, where they learned about changes at the station with the recent “repacking” process at the FCC. “The “repack” is a result of the FCC’s first-ever incentive auction designed to repurpose underutilized broadcast airwaves for new uses, such as 5G – the next generation of wireless technology – while not disrupting local TV viewership.
The last stop of the day was in Henry County at New Vision Farms, one of the largest producers of popcorn in the country. Latta and Carr learned how Internet-connected precision agriculture technology, like drones and satellite imagery, help make the farm more efficient. Last year, legislation authored by Latta, the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, was signed into law as part of the Farm Bill. That bill will help improve broadband access in rural communities so more farms can utilize the latest cutting-edge technology.