Historic package includes the largest investment our country has ever made in broadband infrastructure based on legislation introduced by Klobuchar and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, announced that many provisions from her legislation with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) to help bring high-speed internet to every family in America have passed the Senate as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package. With $65 billion in funding for broadband, this is the largest investment our country has ever made in high-speed internet infrastructure.
“In 2021, we should be able to bring high-speed internet to every community—but today, tens of millions of Americans do not have access to broadband, including approximately 144,000 households in rural Minnesota,” said Senator Klobuchar. “With this legislation, we are making a historic investment to connect millions of people to work, school, health care, and business opportunities. Now that it has passed the Senate, we are one step closer to closing the digital divide once and for all.”
The bipartisan infrastructure package includes provisions from Klobuchar and Clyburn’s legislation to:
- Provide significant funding for the expansion of broadband infrastructure.
- Distribute monthly subsidies for low-income families and tribal communities to put towards internet bills.
- Issue Digital Equity Grants to increase broadband adoption by helping communities gain the digital literacy and technology skills they need to take advantage of the internet.
- Establish an Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to streamline processes for community hubs like schools and small businesses to access federal broadband resources through a simplified application process.
- Require the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) to issue rules to promote and incentivize a standard format for broadband internet service providers to disclose to customers the price and terms of their service offerings.
- Provide funding for:
- Broadband expansion in Tribal communities;
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program, which furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas;
- Middle broadband, which is the section of a network that connects the backbone of the internet to the local connection site, often including institutions like schools, libraries, and government offices; and
- States and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance rural broadband projects.
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