Sinema Calls for Improved Broadband Access and Cell Reception for Rural Arizona

Dec 6, 2019

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema during a Senate Commerce Committee called for improved broadband access for Arizonans in rural areas and improved cell reception in areas of Arizona with poor reception.
“Expanding broadband access improves telehealth, education, and public safety for Arizona communities,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
Sinema highlighted the concerns of Arizonans living near the U.S./Mexico border where Mexican carriers are interfering with U.S. cell service. Sinema indicated that poor service can be a public safety issue if Arizonans cannot contact first responders, law enforcement, or hospitals.
Sinema spoke about telehealth for veterans, which can provide accessible, flexible, and patient-centered health care. However, veterans in underserved or unserved parts of Arizona face significant challenges accessing telehealth services due to lack of access to broadband at home. Sinema indicated that the Lifeline program, which helps over one million veterans nationwide get connected, is a good tool to help veterans access telehealth services.
Additionally, Sinema asked the witnesses ways to ensure Arizona tribal communities have the opportunity to build Educational Broadband Services and other spectrum resources to bridge the digital divide in tribal areas. The Senator mentioned Havasupai Tribe’s use of Educational Broadband Services channels for wireless routers so their members can take online classes. Earlier this year, Tribe was granted four new EBS channels that they intend to use for telemedicine.