06.10.13

Senate Adopts Leahy Amendment To Invest in Gigabit Broadband Networks In Rural Areas

Senate Adopts Leahy Amendment
To Invest in Gigabit Broadband Networks In Rural Areas

WASHINGTON (MONDAY, June 10, 2013) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday won passage of his amendment to the Farm Bill to establish a pilot program within the Rural Utilities Service Broadband Program to invest in broadband projects offering ultra-high speed gigabit Internet service in rural areas.  Leahy’s amendment was approved in a vote of 48 to 38, just before the Senate gave final passage to the Farm Bill in a vote of  66 to 27.

Leahy said, “Next generation gigabit networks have the potential to transform rural areas.  Rural America has so much to offer, but without the great equalizer of high-speed Internet, rural communities cannot live up to their full potential.  Investing in next generation networks now will help ensure that rural areas do not fall even farther behind.” 

Leahy’s pilot program will allow the Rural Utilities Service to invest in up to five ultra-high speed networks in rural areas over the next five years.  Leahy  believes Vermont would be an excellent candidate for one of the projects.  Gigabit Internet speeds are approximately 100 times faster than the average high-speed Internet connection.  High profile gigabit projects, including the Google Fiber project in Kansas City, are bringing public awareness to the capabilities of the next generation of broadband networks.  

Leahy is the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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