Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, joined Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota; Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont; Patty Murray, D-Washington; Ron Wyden, D-Oregon; Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan; Tom Udall, D-New Mexico; Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Mexico; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York; Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts; Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts; Gary Peters, D-Michigan; Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland; and Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, in a letter to President Donald Trump to urge him to include funding to support broadband deployment in unserved rural areas across the country.

“In an increasingly interconnected world and global economy, we must include in our discussion of infrastructure not just roads, bridges and waterways, but also high-speed internet access. While the vast majority of Americans have access to high-speed internet service, there is a stark disparity between urban and rural America,” wrote the senators. “This digital divide puts many rural Americans at risk of being left out of critical technological advancements and economic gains. The longer we delay investing in quality telecommunications for rural residents, the more challenging it will become to bridge the digital divide. As you finalize your proposal to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, we urge you to include at least $40 billion in funding for broadband deployment to help reach unserved Americans in rural and remote areas.”

Nearly 30,000 Delawareans do not have access to high-speed internet, including 10 percent of Delaware’s rural population, according to a 2016 report from the Federal Communications Commission. Coons is a lead sponsor of the Gigabit Opportunity Act, which would accelerate the development of high-speed internet in low-income urban and rural communities.