ARLINGTON, Va. – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has appointed National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson to serve on a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. The committee will identify new ways to encourage the expansion of broadband to rural and urban low-income communities, as well as disaster response and recovery capabilities in the communications sector.
“Expanded broadband access is a key ingredient for a healthy 21st century rural economy,” Matheson said. “Electric co-ops are committed to improving the quality of life in America’s rural communities. I look forward to bringing that community focus to the FCC and fostering a conversation around policy changes to bridge the digital divide.”
Matheson will serve on the committee with 35 other leaders from various sectors. The committee will meet for the first time on June 13.
About 24 million Americans lack broadband access, most of them in rural communities. More than 100 electric cooperatives are working to solve this problem by leveraging partnerships and investments in communications infrastructure to connect communities.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.