U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie wants to bring broadband access to more Kentuckians. He said it helps economic development as well as quality of life.
About 22 percent of Kentuckians don’t have access to broadband. One of the biggest challenges with providing reliable internet access to more people is building the infrastructure. Guthrie said better access to faster internet means connecting more people to flexible work and allowing companies to remain competitive.
“So even if you’re doing old school manufacturing it uses modern technology and you have to have it,” he told WKU Public Radio. “So if you have counties that just don’t have it overall they just can’t compete in terms of trying to attract businesses to put people to work and grow the county.”
The Bowling Green Republican said video gamers are the biggest users of the internet but access to broadband helps people in a lot of different ways.
“It’s a quality of life issue. It’s able to do homework issue so I think it’s vitally important that we find a way to get as many people covered as we can,” he told WKU Public Radio.
Guthrie said encouraging businesses and people to locate in an area often requires reliable internet access. The Federal Communications Commission has a $4.5 billion fund that provides resources to private companies that want to build out broadband infrastructure.
The Bowling Green Republican said he hopes Congress will focus on passing a major infrastructure funding bill after the mid-term elections, with a significant portion of that money marked for broadband. President Trump has repeatedly called for Congress to act on infrastructure, but the issue has so far gained little traction.