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Radio News: Senators want faster broadband service

May 10, 2016 10:47 pm
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Slate reports that last week four U.S. Senators sent a letter critical of the ConnectHome program that is supposed to help rural Americans get broadband internet service to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs ConnectHome. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Angus King, I-Maine; and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., complained about the quality of the Internet that ConnectHome provides. ConnectHome sets up 4Mbps download and 1Mbps as broadband, though the Federal Communications Commission recently updated those figures to 25Mbps download speed and 3Mbps upload speed in January 2015. "Federal policymakers must ensure that taxpayer-supported infrastructure is sufficiently robust to handle demand. It is not only a matter of fairness that rural Americans can fully utilize broadband-enabled resources, but also a matter of ensuring that taxpayers are receiving the full economic development return on their investments," the senators wrote to the Agriculture Department. The FCC's Lifeline program for low-income Americans provides 10Mbps downloads. Most government internet subsidies, Slate reports, set aside $9.25 per household for broadband, which won't get anyone blazing internet speeds.