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Rep. Bergman Forms Rural Connectivity Advisory Committee

On Tuesday, Rep. Jack Bergman announced the formation of the Rural Connectivity Advisory Committee for Michigan’s First District. The Committee will serve as a forum where Rep. Bergman, internet service providers, local and tribal leaders, and stakeholder groups can share ideas, opportunities, and solutions in the fight to address the critical lack of connectivity in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

Rep. Bergman noted, “In Michigan’s First District, far too many of us struggle to secure a reliable online connection in our homes and businesses – an issue which the pandemic has only highlighted. During my time in Congress, I’ve worked to advance a wide range of solutions for rural and remote communities because there is no silver bullet when it comes to bridging the digital divide to share in the 21st Century economy. I’m looking forward to bringing this committee together to discuss solutions and take advantage of opportunities to expand connectivity.”

Some key goals of the Committee include:

  • Identifying underlying issues behind the lack of connectivity in Michigan’s First District;
  • Exploring actionable solutions to bridge the digital divide in Michigan’s rural communities;
  • Seeking coordination among federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners;
  • Informing members and constituents of ongoing efforts and available resources; and
  • Hearing from relevant government officials involved in broadband programs.

Connectivity and access to broadband is a top priority for Michigan’s First District, and that’s why Rep. Bergman has taken action:

  • Achieving federal funds for rural broadband infrastructure buildouts through Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. Most recently, COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law will provide more than $7 billion in broadband-related funding.
  • Coordinating closely with constituents, providers, and stakeholders to help communities become more connected. Rep. Bergman has proudly supported grant and loan applications to reach unserved and underserved households in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
  • Introducing new legislation like the Rural Broadband Window of Opportunity Act to level the playing field for broadband expansion in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

Source: Rep. Bergman news release