Clinton pushes for rural access
- By Judi Hasson
- Apr 27, 2000
President Clinton on Wednesday said that rural America should have easier
access to the Internet through high-speed telecommunications services.
Government has a "special obligation to ensure that all Americans, including
Americans living in rural communities, have the opportunity to be full participants
in the Information Age," Clinton said, and called for expanding government
programs to provide more access to new technologies.
Clinton released a report by the U.S. Commerce Department's National
Telecommunications and Information Administration and the U.S. Agriculture
Department's Rural Utilities Service in Whiteville, N.C., as part of his
New Markets Tour designed to underscore divisions between rural and urban
The report concluded that high-speed Internet access through broadband
services has been deployed in urban areas far more than in rural communities.
"Faster deployment of advanced telecommunications services in rural
America is needed to ensure that all Americans can derive the benefits of
the digital economy," said Commerce Secretary William Daley.
Congress and many federal agencies are struggling to figure out how
to provide access and equipment to areas far from urban centers.
The Agriculture Department, a prime mover behind providing greater access
to farmers, is working to make information and services for farmers available
online. And several Democratic senators introduced legislation on April
13 that would provide $11 million a year to develop a National Center for
Distance Working to promote telecommuting.
"Rural workers need jobs. High-tech employers need workers. This legislation
would create models of how to bring these communities together to find a
common solution to these separate challenges," said Sen. Paul Wellstone
(D-Minn.), a co-sponsor of the bill.