Virginia congresswoman hosts Rural Broadband Summit

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A Virginia congresswoman hosted a summit at Louisa County High School on Saturday afternoon to hear from the community about their broadband access concerns.

Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-7th) was joined by three panelists to address broadband access in rural areas.

Spanberger said the summit gave her a chance to hear directly from people how broadband access is impacting their work and life at home.

"Our hope is that this event can help people somewhat understand the challenges of bringing rural broadband to our communities and address those by actually bringing it here by some of the programs that exist," she said.

Jim Riddell, the president of the Louisa County Farm Bureau, talked about how broadband access is impacting farmers in Virginia.

"Broadband is essential to the future of Virginia farmers," he said. "In certain areas, we have a very slow up speed and we can't get the data out of our equipment to our computers."

Spanberger said there is a few pieces of legislation Congress members are looking at to update broadband access.

"There's a variety of other bills currently being considered in Congress related to updating maps so we know what areas have access or those who don't," she said. "And also to ensure that we're looking at creating better ways which communities have broadband."

During the summit, people were split up into groups to see how broadband access impacts different areas, including education and health care.

With these discussions, Riddell hopes the next generation of farmers can get the broadband access they need.

"I've got four grandsons. For them to be able to operate the farm, to transfer their information, we've got to have strong broadband," Riddell said. "It's got to be effective so we can depend on it."

Spanberger said she doesn't have any future summits planned.

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