Public Knowledge Commends Rep. Eshoo for Bipartisan Bills to Close Digital Divide

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Today, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Congressman David B. McKinley (R-WV) introduced the CLIMB ONCE Act, which reduces the time and cost of deploying new broadband equipment on utility poles.

New broadband providers entering an area are required to notify other broadband providers who use the same utility poles so they can prepare and potentially move their equipment to accommodate, a costly process known as “make ready” work. This “one touch, make-ready” bill allows a list of pre-approved contractors to handle utility pole preparation for new broadband providers, reducing the cost and time needed for broadband providers to enter new markets.

Thursday, Rep. Eshoo introduced the Community Broadband Act, legislation that will empower local communities to ensure their residents have broadband access. The bill expressly prohibits states from writing laws that inhibit local governments from building their own broadband, preserving a community’s right to provide broadband service to its own neighborhoods.

Earlier this week, Rep. Eshoo also introduced a “Dig Once” bill to expand broadband service while reducing costs. Public Knowledge applauds Congresswoman Eshoo for her bipartisan work to provide broadband service to all Americans.

The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:

“Rep. Eshoo has introduced three commonsense bills, each of which would contribute to closing the rural digital divide and enhancing broadband competition throughout the country. All three of these bills are revenue neutral. Two of them are bipartisan, with the support of Rep. McKinley. None of them should wait for consideration and passage.

“House Democrats have already proposed $40 billion in rural broadband spending in the LIFT America Act introduced last year. This past week, Republicans introduced a set of principles, and President Trump has committed to including rural broadband in his infrastructure package. While no one can doubt that funding affordable broadband for all Americans will require a commitment of new federal money, we also know that negotiations that involve spending money are complicated and contentious at the best of times.

“Rep. Eshoo has proposed three bills that will significantly move the needle on bringing affordable broadband to all Americans that won’t require appropriating a single new dollar. We hope the House will move swiftly to consider and pass these sensible, bipartisan broadband bills rather than wait to negotiate the perfect broadband funding package.”

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