House Unanimously Approves Tonko Bill to Increase Broadband Access

 

WASHINGTON Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) heralded passage of H.R. 1328: the ACCESS BROADBAND Act in the House 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.

“Reliable broadband internet access is an integral part of our American economy and modern way of life,” said Rep. Tonko. “Whether for students doing homework, job seekers training for a new career, doctors reading a medical scan or entrepreneurs starting a small business, we need to make sure nobody is being left behind. Sadly, despite the vital importance of internet access today, federal resources supporting broadband expansion are poorly tracked with little coordination across agencies or departments. As a result, those resources are left out of reach for many of our local businesses and community leaders who need them. The House took an important step forward today by advancing this common-sense bill. The Senate must act urgently to pass this critical legislation and move America closer to faster, more reliable broadband access for our communities and every American.”

The 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 Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Doug Jones (D-AL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Similar legislation passed in the House in the 115th Congress but was never taken up in the Senate.

The ACCESS BROADBAND Act:

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.

 

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