Brooks Announces Introduction of Bill to Increase Broadband Access in Underserved Areas
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Susan Brooks (R-IN05) and Paul Tonko (D-NY20) announced the introduction of H.R. 1328, the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, bipartisan legislation that would expand broadband access in underserved areas and create a simpler process for small businesses and local economic developers to access federal broadband resources.
“Hoosiers and Americans across the country who live in rural communities need better access to the internet so they can live and prosper in the 21st century economy,” said Brooks. “Currently, pursuing and managing federal broadband resources is overly burdensome for small businesses and communities as they search and manage multiple federal agencies’ application processes. The ACCESS BROADBAND Act will simplify this process for small businesses and local communities and will facilitate their interaction with government agencies as they apply for federal broadband assistance in order to bring internet connectivity to their communities.”
“Reliable access to the internet is vital to our economy and way of life, whether for students doing homework, job seekers training for a new career, doctors reading a medical scan or entrepreneurs starting a small business,” said Tonko. “Despite its importance, federal resources supporting broadband expansion are poorly tracked with little coordination across agencies or departments that are doing this work, making it harder our local businesses and community leaders to access them. This bill is a step towards better broadband access for our communities and better government for all of us.”
This bill would also fund local training workshops to help small businesses and economic developers put federal broadband resources to work. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Doug Jones (D-AL).
- 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.