Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Virginia BEAD Event

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Virginia BEAD Event

Jun 29, 2023

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Virginia BEAD Event
Thu, 06/29/2023 – 12:26



Thursday, June 29, 2023

Office of Public Affairs

Don Graves

Thank you, Congresswoman Wexton, for that introduction. Hello everyone! I’m so pleased to be here as we celebrate all of the exciting broadband investments being made right here in Virginia.

I’d like to extend additional thanks to the congresswoman for welcoming us to her beautiful district for this event, and to Phyllis Randall and Tamarah Holmes for being able to join us today.

This important work began more than two years ago, as President Biden took office and we were emerging from a pandemic that forced so much of our lives to move online. While many Americans could work from home, expand their online business presence, or make a virtual doctor’s appointment, there were millions who couldn’t just because of where they lived or how much it cost.

President Biden saw the problem, knew it was unacceptable, and set off on a mission to fix it. He understands that internet access in the digital age is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. And during his State of the Union address, he made a promise to provide high-speed Internet for every American. Now he’s delivering in a bipartisan way.

Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the support of lawmakers like Congresswoman Wexton, this week we’re celebrating the biggest-ever investment in broadband to finally help us close the digital divide in our country once and for all. 

There are about 8.5 million locations in America that lack access to quality service. In Virginia, there are more than 360,000 locations that are unserved or underserved. Each of those locations represents a generations-old farm that can’t harvest using modern tools, a fledgling small business stuck in an analog era, a working class family cut off from vital telehealth care, or a young student missing out on lifechanging opportunities that the digital world can provide.

But as of this week, that all changes. Virginia will receive an investment of nearly $1.5 billion dollars to ensure everyone in the state has access.

The digital divide is not a new problem – we’ve known about it for decades – and many have tried to bridge that gap and expand broadband infrastructure to every corner of this country.

But President Biden is making it a reality, and once again proving that there’s no limit to what this country can do when we work together.

Throughout our history, there have been moments when our country came together to achieve great things – to change lives with a commitment to leaving no one behind.

Just like the Rural Electrification Act a century ago and the Interstate Highway System that followed it, this is our generation’s opportunity to transform our nation’s infrastructure and, by doing so, improve Americans’ lives.

So, let’s get to work. Thank you.


Don Graves



Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More