U.S. House passes bill aiming to increase broadband access in underserved areas
Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.-05) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.-20) heralded passage of H.R. 1328, the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, in the House today by a unanimous voice vote. This bipartisan legislation would help expand broadband access in underserved areas and create a simpler process for small businesses and local economic developers to access federal broadband resources.
“Indiana has recognized this critical need and has made a commitment to invest $100 million in supporting broadband access across the state for underserved areas,” said Brooks. This NextLevel connections program is exactly the kind of idea that the ACCESS BROABAND Act will help support. By making federal resources easier to access, Indiana will be able to better support its own internet access efforts.”
- Stands for Advancing Critical Connectivity Expands Service, Small Businesses Resources, Opportunities, Access, and Data Based on Assessed Need and Demand
- Establishes an Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
- Directs this office to simplify access for small businesses and local communities, possibly including small business workshops and other support resources.
- Streamlines process for small businesses & local governments to apply for federal broadband assistance; improves coordination across government and the private sector.
“This bill is about bringing the benefits of broadband communications into the lives of our constituents,” said Brooks. “I am glad Congress is acting on a solution to help address this problem faced by Hoosiers and Americans across the country. I thank the gentleman from New York, Representative Tonko, for letting me partner with him on this legislation and look forward to working with him in the future.”
Click here to watch Rep. Brooks’s remarks made on the U.S. House floor.
A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).