Iowa and Missouri Representatives Speak to Legislative Importance of Broadband

Representatives asked industry leaders to communicate their deployment concerns.

Iowa and Missouri Representatives Speak to Legislative Importance of Broadband
Photo of Louis Riggs, R-Missouri; Ray Sorenson, R-Iowa; Kathryn De Wit of Pew Charitable Trusts (left to right)

ORLANDO, August 24, 2023 – House Representatives for Missouri and Iowa told Fiber Connect attendees Wednesday that their primary role as legislators is to get government out of the way of providers seeking to connect unserved and underserved addresses across the nation.

Ray Sorenson, R-Iowa, told conference attendees how important it is that government officials and industry leaders work together to figure out how best to connect all address in the United States. He works with people in Iowa’s state broadband office to help it “get done right,” he said.

He praised the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program for being customizable by states that know their individual needs better than the federal government. “We have to get out of the way and make sure that this rolls out smoothly,” said Sorenson, referring to legislators and federal policies.

Sorenson added that he is “technology agnostic,” meaning that he does not care what technology connects people to high-speed internet. We need to make sure we focus on those people that are not connected at all. He said that 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and upload speeds do not matter if the consumer has 0 by 0 Mbps.

The next generation of farming equipment requires broadband connectivity, Sorensen continued, claiming that it is the nation’s future and urging providers to get ahead of the coming demand. It has been a revelation to talk to people who live in the suburbs and urban cores who all agree that broadband connectivity is something that needs to happen, he said.

Louis Riggs, R-Missouri, added that legislators are likeminded across party lines about getting the necessary investments into BEAD projects. “We have one chance to get this right,” he said. He asked industry leaders to communicate with legislators about the problems they are facing in deployment.

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