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Ernst, Feenstra Meet with Iowans to Discuss Rural Broadband

The Iowa lawmakers met with local businesses, members of the Northwest Communications Cooperative Association, and others.

HAVELOCK, Iowa—Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Congressman Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) met with local business owners in Pocahontas County, along with leaders of the Northwest Communications Cooperative Association (NCCA), to discuss rural broadband in Iowa and ways to expand access to reliable internet throughout the state.
“For Iowa’s small businesses, families, educators, rural health care providers, and rural communities, access to quality broadband and high-speed internet is essential in the modern world—a reality that has only been made clearer during this pandemic,” said Senator Ernst, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. “Expanding access to reliable broadband, especially for Iowa’s rural communities, has been a longtime goal of mine, and I’m proud to be working on several different bills, including some that have been signed into law, to do exactly that. Today’s discussion with Congressman Feenstra and folks in Pocahontas County provided me with valuable information on areas we can continue working to expand access to dependable internet throughout Iowa.”
“From precision farming to telemedicine and virtual working and learning, it has become imperative that every Iowan has access to quality, affordable internet services,” said Congressman Feenstra. “I enjoyed meeting folks in Pocahontas County along with Senator Ernst to learn more about how we can continue to help advance this critical effort at the federal level. It is clear that broadband is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. I look forward to working towards solutions that will close the digital divide for farmers, families, and businesses across the 4th District.”
Senator Ernst and Congressman Feenstra visited with Iowans in Pocahontas County to discuss ways to expand access to broadband throughout the community and entire state.
Ernst and Feenstra took a tour of the server room to see firsthand the equipment used to deliver internet services.
“Northwest Communications, a local Pocahontas County Communications company since 1963, appreciates the opportunity to have Senator Ernst and Representative Feenstra at our office in Havelock to discuss broadband with our employees, Palmer Mutual Telephone Company, Laurens Municipal Power and Communications and other business and individuals from Pocahontas County,” said Don Miller, CEO of Northwest Communications.
Ernst has long fought to expand rural broadband in Iowa. After hearing from Iowans about inaccurate broadband mapping in the state, Ernst worked on a bipartisan effort, the Broadband DATA Act, which was signed into law in March 2020. This law improves the accuracy of broadband maps so resources are targeted to areas where they are needed most. Last Congress, she introduced her ACCESS Act, which would cut regulatory red tape for telecom providers.
Today’s stop was part of Ernst’s 99 County Tour for 2021, her 25th county on the year.