Freshman Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, pressed industry leaders this week for answers regarding the digital divide that rural Arizonans are facing. In addition, Senator Sinema also made the call for expanding the use of 5G technology in her state and around the country because “we can’t consider the race to 5G won until we all cross the finish line.”
In her statement, she highlighted the leadership role that Arizona has taken concerning technological advancements and asserted that there’s a need to further invest in next-generation communications technology.
Pinal County seniors recently directed a letter to the Senator, informing that their area lacks consistent cell service that has prevented them from calling 911 in the event of an emergency. Sharing their story at the hearing, the Arizona Senator called for further action and she stressed the need to close the digital divide because, in some cases, “it risks lives.”
The Senator informed that “the area has lacked reliable cell phone service for 15 years,” and that the residents of the Sunscape RV Resort have paid for quality cell phone service that is not being provided for them.
“Sunscape’s story should serve as a reminder that as we discuss the benefits of moving from 4G to 5G in the cities, there are communities all across my state and our country that still don’t have reliable 3G,” added Sinema. “In the digital age, these disparities in service are fundamentally disparities of opportunity. Rural communities must be a bigger part of the connectivity conversation,” she concluded.
Members of her staff visited the Resort, which is a community of residents aged 55 and older. After listening to personal accounts from residents and management of the connectivity challenges that the Resort faces, Sinema voiced the concerns as part of her initative to ensure that all Arizonans are able to stay connected.