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FCC Commissioner Carr Joins Leader Rodgers in Eastern Washington


07.07.21

Last week, Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) welcomed Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr to her district in Eastern Washington, where they met with local business owners and health care professionals to discuss telehealth efforts, rural broadband, and the development of cutting-edge precision agriculture technology.

HIGHLIGHTS

Rodgers and Carr joined T-Mobile and Legacy Telecommunications as they completed the installment of a new cell tower in Airway Heights, Washington.

After helping complete the installation, Rodgers made the first ever commercial 5G mid-band spectrum call from the area. This tower will serve local schools, veterans, and military families by expanding access to reliable 5G and in-home broadband networks.

“Reliable internet has become essential for everything from school and work to accessing health care services,” said Rodgers in a statement on Friday. “Yet many in Eastern Washington and across the country continue to lack the connectivity they need. With the installment of this new cell tower, we are expanding high-speed internet and 5G services in Eastern Washington and moving one step closer to closing the digital divide.”

Rodgers and Carr later met with local businesses that are leading in the development of cutting-edge communications, cybersecurity, and agriculture equipment, including Peak Industries, Nelson Farms, Inc., and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

They also participated in a roundtable discussion with local business leaders on the importance of expanding high speed broadband to unleash economic opportunity and relying on more accurate FCC broadband maps to detect coverage gaps.

Last Congress, the House passed the Broadband DATA Act, which requires the FCC to revamp the federal mapping process to ensure the federal government has access to reliable coverage data, so federal resources can be targeted where needed. The new maps will help stretch federal funding as far as possible by accurately targeting truly unserved communities in Eastern Washington and across the country.

Their trip also included a visit to Providence Holy Family Hospital to discuss the demand for telehealth and their state-of-the-art mental health services in the region, which have increased significantly since last year. The hospital’s initial goal for telehealth visits last year was 100,000 by the end of 2020–they are currently on track to do 2.4 million by end of 2021.

Earlier this year, Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, led by Rodgers, unveiled the Boosting Broadband Connectivity Agenda to close the digital divide and ensure unserved communities have access to reliable broadband services.  

CLICK HERE for more about the Boosting Broadband Connectivity Agenda. 

CLICK HERE to read about Committee Republicans’ recently unveiled American Broadband Act. 

CLICK HERE to learn more about how the American Broadband Act will close the digital divide in rural America.

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