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Rural Oklahoma advocacy organization applauds bi-partisan infrastructure agreement, calls broadband funding proposal a “homerun” for Rural areas.

Mon, 28 Jun 2021 10:02:44 CDT

Rural Oklahoma advocacy organization applauds bi-partisan infrastructure agreement, calls broadband funding proposal a “homerun” for Rural areas. The bi-partisan infrastructure agreement reached this week by Democrat and Republican members of the United States Senate represents a desperately needed investment in Rural America according to Clay Pope, Chairman of the Oklahoma Rural and Small-Town table of common interests (Table of Common Interests). Pope gave special emphasis on the $65 billion investment for broadband internet expansion in rural areas that is included in the package.

“This agreement represents potentially the largest investment in infrastructure that we have seen in a generation, including a desperately needed investment in rural broadband technology.” Pope said. “It’s exciting and frankly inspiring to see members from both sides of the isle come together to negotiate something like this. This potentially could have as big an impact on rural Oklahoma as the introduction of rural electricity in the 1930’s. It’s a real homerun for rural communities.”

The subject of a recent informational forum hosted by the Table of Common Interests, (videos of the presentations made at the conference can be seen here https://bit.ly/OklahomaRuralBroadband) the rural broadband needs of Oklahoma have become more and more evident in the aftermath of the covid 19 pandemic, Pope Said.

“We’ve seen through this last year of living through the pandemic, how devastating not having access to broadband can be,” Pope said. “Our children and schools struggled with virtual education, businesses and individuals struggled with the changes and challenges caused by social distancing and lock downs; basically, we have seen how a lack of broadband connectivity can hold back almost every aspect of community development.”

While many hurdles have to be cleared before the announced agreement becomes law, Pope said he is hopeful that Oklahoma’s congressional delegation will support this needed investment in infrastructure.

“Broadband is an important piece of this package, but not the only piece,” Pope said. “Whether it’s repairing our roads, bridges and dams, hardening our electrical grid to extreme weather or improving rail and port facilities, the time has come to re-invest in America. Its hearting to see both Republicans and Democrats coming together to make this happen and we hope that our representatives in Congress will join in this effort.”



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