Testifying this afternoon at a House hearing on Federal Communications Commission oversight, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called closing the digital divide his “top priority,” citing the agency’s recent actions to expand access to broadband and telehealth services in rural America. These include increasing the Rural Health Care Program’s annual cap to $571 million, as advocated by the AHA, and plans to consider a new $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program to support telehealth for low-income Americans, especially those living in rural areas and veterans. “These steps will enable more rural patients to access telemedicine through high-speed broadband,” Pai told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. In a statement submitted to the subcommittee last week for a hearing on rural broadband and telehealth, AHA applauded Congress and the FCC for focusing on the issue, calling it “increasingly vital for health care providers to have reliable and robust broadband connections to manage daily operations and critical telehealth applications.”

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