FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

April 18, 2022

CONTACT: [email protected]

One Country Project Launches Six-Figure Ad Campaign to Ensure FCC Prioritizes Rural Broadband Expansion and Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the One Country Project — an organization dedicated to ensuring rural issues are understood and prioritized by federal lawmakers — announced a six-figure ad campaign aimed at raising awareness that the Biden administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee, Gigi Sohn, is the wrong choice for the FCC and rural America. Over the coming weeks, ads will run in Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Maine, and West Virginia highlighting Sohn’s poor track record when it comes to prioritizing rural Americans.

Sohn has made several public comments that call into question her commitment to rural communities, such as her testimony to the House Energy & Commerce Committee where she stated “policymakers have focused disproportionately on broadband deployment in rural areas of the United States” or her claims that FCC broadband policies have “made it really easy” for rural broadband companies “to basically suck at the government teat to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.”

As One Country Project founder and former Senator Heidi Heitkamp states, “Given the significant progress that has been made in closing the rural digital divide in recent years, and all the important work that remains to fully close the gap, Gigi Sohn’s deeply cynical view of rural broadband is far less than what rural Americans need or deserve. She is the wrong choice for FCC Commissioner and rural America when critical issues like rural broadband will be under her jurisdiction.”

Rural America’s need for better connection to today’s global economy via affordable, high-speed internet has become even more apparent and urgent in recent years. The pandemic shed a spotlight on the impacts of the digital divide and the need to have reliable internet connectivity to access jobs, education, health care, and other resources. The American Rescue Plan made sizeable commitments to expand broadband access and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) included a total of $65 billion in funding for broadband expansion, but there is far more work to be done.

  • More than 30 million Americans — many of whom live on Tribal lands or in other rural areas — do not have access to broadband infrastructure that delivers even minimally sufficient speeds. (White House Fact Sheet)
  • 22.3% of Americans in rural areas and 27.7 percent of Americans in Tribal lands lack coverage from fixed terrestrial 25/3 Mbps broadband, as compared to only 1.5 percent of Americans in urban areas, according to a recent report by the FCC. (USDA, 2020)
  • 39% of rural Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3Mbps, compared to only 4% of people living in cities. (FCC)

To learn more about the importance of expanding broadband access in rural communities, check out the One Country Project’s Rural Broadband Roadmap HERE.     

To read an op-ed by OCP founder and former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp on this topic, click HERE.

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About One Country Project

The One Country Project, founded by former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, is working to promote greater opportunities for rural communities and ensure leaders earn their support. One Country is reengaging with rural Americans, serving as a clearinghouse of research and information for rural Americans, and working to ensure leaders regain trust by fighting for these communities. To learn more, visit the website, https://onecountryproject.com/.

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