LANSING, MI – State Rep. Pauline Wendzel, Republican Leader of the House Energy, Communications, and Technology Committee, introduced legislation to help expand access to broadband in unserved and underserved communities throughout Michigan.
“There’s a growing digital divide in our state, and it’s very real,” Rep. Wendzel said. “Parents who had to drive their kids to a fast-food restaurant’s parking lot so they could do homework – know it. Realtors, whose first question they receive is, “does the property have internet?” – know it. Economic developers who pitch our community as an attractive investment opportunity only to be rejected for urban areas also recognize the growing divide. To compete in the 21-century economy, our communities need access to the internet, and I’m taking action to make it happen.”
House Bills 4207 and 4208 will promote investment in broadband equipment with the hope of bringing more high-speed internet infrastructure and service to underserved and rural areas of the state. The legislation aims to prompt investors to upgrade their equipment and expand services to areas that currently cannot receive high-speed internet.
“The potential for progress is immense,” Rep. Wendzel said. “Expanding broadband access will ensure every citizen has the chance to participate in the 21st century economy and access life-changing information.” Rep. Wendzel continued, “students in rural school districts can access the same educational resources as their counterparts in urban areas. Small businesses can reach customers and markets around the world, and families in remote areas can access telemedicine services, improving their health and well-being. We can and must get this done.”
The legislation was introduced today and will be referred to a House Committee for further consideration.
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