Historic investment based on Klobuchar legislation to bring high-speed Internet to all corners of America

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus and a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, released the statement below following the Biden administration’s announcement of a $45 billion investment to strengthen broadband deployment and expand access to affordable, high-speed Internet. 

The Internet for All initiative, funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is based on Klobuchar’s legislation with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) to build high-speed broadband infrastructure and increase access to affordable Internet for unserved and underserved communities.

“In 2022, we should be able to bring high-speed internet to every community in our country, regardless of their zip code,” said Klobuchar. “This historic investment, based on my legislation to bring high-speed, affordable broadband to all corners of our country, will ensure that all Americans can connect to work, school, health care and business opportunities. As co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, I’ll keep fighting to close the digital divide and help families across our state reliably access the high-speed internet they need.”

The initiative will provide grants to build broadband infrastructure, including middle-mile infrastructure, boost Internet affordability, expand virtual social services such as telehealth and public safety accessibility, and offer digital skills training. More information about the programs are available HERE.

As co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, Klobuchar has been a national leader in efforts to expand broadband access and bridge the digital divide. 

Earlier this month, she introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to strengthen broadband access for rural communities. The Rural Broadband Protection Act will ensure that providers applying for federal funding can reliably deliver broadband to underserved, rural communities. 

In March, she and Senator John Thune (R-SD) led a bipartisan group of colleagues in urging the FCC to provide rural communities with guidance on their broadband funding status. She also secured significant federal funding as part of the government funding package to expand broadband access for rural communities in Northeast Minnesota, and led successful efforts to resolve a dispute regarding Red River Communications, helping bring high-speed Internet access to rural communities in the Red River Valley.

In November, she and Thune introduced bipartisan legislation to expand rural broadband access by strengthening the funding mechanisms for the USF, which promotes universal access to broadband and other telecommunications services. 

Last July, she introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to expand rural broadband access by streamlining the funding process and removing barriers for broadband connectivity in hard-to-serve rural areas.

In December 2020, several of Klobuchar’s key broadband priorities were  signed into law as part of the year-end omnibus package passed by the Senate. These provisions included funding to:

  • Ensure students with the greatest financial need can access high-speed internet (based off of Klobuchar’s Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act);
  • Implement the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, bipartisan legislation to improve the accuracy of the FCC’s broadband availability maps, which was signed into law in March of 2020; and
  • Ensure federal funds for broadband deployment target unserved and underserved areas by directing the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to coordinate and share information on their broadband deployment efforts. 

In December 2019, Klobuchar and Thune  (R-SD) led 46 of their colleagues in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote the deployment of sustainable broadband networks.

In June 2019, Klobuchar and Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-WV) legislation to improve broadband connectivity passed the Senate. 

In May 2019, Klobuchar and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)’s legislation to ensure federal funds for broadband deployment are targeting unserved and underserved areas passed the Senate Commerce Committee. 

In March 2019, Klobuchar, Capito, and Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the FCC’s broadband coverage maps. 

Klobuchar and Wicker also led the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The bipartisan legislation directs the FCC to establish a task force to identify gaps in broadband coverage and encourage broadband deployment on farms and ranchland.