Connecting All Alaskans to Each Other and the Lower 48
As a long-time advocate of roads, bridges and other infrastructure, I understand that 21st Century communication infrastructure is no longer just telephone services, but broadband deployment. The benefits of high-speed internet connections in the areas of telemedicine, telecommuting and online commerce are especially valuable to rural places like Alaska. For example, with improved broadband infrastructure, people in rural Alaska may not need to take a costly flight to Anchorage to see a specialist. Rather, doctors might be able to use videoconferencing to help diagnose an ailment and prescribe a remedy.
However, equally important to making the amazing advancements in broadband available, is also ensuring that such technology remains affordable to ordinary Alaskans. I am a staunch advocate of the Universal Service Fund (USF) as I understand the importance it plays in providing service to the Interior, Western Alaska and the rest of the state. Over the past few years, the FCC has released reforms of the USF High Cost Fund that have been bad news for the state of Alaska. Please know that I have fought and will continue to fight to ensure that Alaskans continue to have access to affordable, high-speed broadband.