Blog // Connect Alaska

Begich Speaks about His Work on Rural Broadband in D.C.

By CAK Staff

During a recent episode of The Broadband Beat with Shirley Bloomfield, hosted by NTCA, Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) talked about how important broadband is to rural parts of Alaska. Rural broadband connectivity is crucial for healthcare, education, commerce, and for social reasons, said Begich.

“If you don’t have high-speed broadband connectivity in your community, you’re going to be left out.”  He went on to identify the need for more capacity given its current uses in telemedicine and distance learning, and the amount of potential for future applications.

Currently a member of the Commerce Committee, Begich said he is working with the FCC to help it better understand the infrastructure and competitive challenges facing Alaska.

“It’s great to have the big companies but you also have to have these smaller companies that were there before anyone else was there,” he explained. “If you think of a credit union, it’s local, homegrown, member-driven, and they are part of the equation at the end of the day.” He said it is important for the FCC to remember smaller companies during times of reform.

Begich went on to say he believes he has a strong working relationship with the FCC. He said he not only talks to Chairman Tom Wheeler, but also to the FCC commissioners on both sides of party lines.

“If you care about what I care about, I don’t care if you’re the Republican appointee or the Democratic appointee, you’re going to get a call from me,” he said. Looking to the future, Begich said he hopes to continue fighting for Alaska’s interests in all areas, including telecom issues.

If you’d like to see the interview, you can find the link here.



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