Office of Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-9)
Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema highlighted recent bipartisan efforts to expand broadband access in rural and tribal areas of Arizona, stressing how the pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
“The pandemic has put a spotlight on the digital divide in this country...Broadband connectivity lets kids participate in distance learning, lets veterans have telehealth appointments with their medical providers, and lets Arizonans across the state schedule vaccine appointments online. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this committee to develop bipartisan solutions to get Arizonans connected and keep them connected,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
In December’s coronavirus response bill, Sinema secured legislative language that dedicates $300 million for rural broadband expansion through public and private partnerships. Additionally, the legislation created a $1 billion fund dedicated solely to address the significant connectivity challenges that tribal communities experience. Sinema also secured $7 billion to support distance learning through the E-Rate program in the American Rescue Plan Act.
In October, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted tribal communities in Arizona spectrum licenses, after Sinema encouraged the FCC to create an application priority window so tribal communities could expand broadband deployment. The priority window marked a unique opportunity for tribes in Arizona to access allocated spectrum specifically for tribal communities.
As a strong advocate for rural broadband in the Senate Commerce Committee, Sinema introduced the bipartisan ACCESS Rural America Act that encourages private investment in rural broadband during the 116th Congress.