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Today, Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), Rick Nolan (D-MN) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced a bill that would authorize $20 billion for new broadband infrastructure targeting rural communities. The bill, “The New Deal Rural Broadband Act of 2017,” would also make it easier for small communities to obtain grants and loans for broadband infrastructure. Additionally, it would create a new Tribal Broadband Assistance Program to help provide high-speed internet access for tribal communities.
The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“We thank Representatives Huffman, Nolan and Pocan for introducing a bill that seeks to connect rural and tribal communities with the essential communications tool of the 21st century. We rely on internet access for everything, from education and job hunting to civic participation and health services, and this bill aims to expand high-speed internet access to small communities that broadband providers have refused to serve, or been unable to without assistance.
“Rural communities cannot continue to be left behind in connecting to high-speed broadband. Every industry we see in rural America can now use broadband to improve its efficiency, lower costs, and reach a global market. High-speed broadband also brings new entrepreneurship and economic development to rural communities. Without it many Americans will not benefit from the economic growth of the last several years. There are many new ideas to support broadband as a part of the new Congress’ infrastructure proposals. It’s good to see this legislation focused on ending the rural-urban digital divide.”