Loebsack Introduces Legislation to Bring High-Speed Broadband Internet to All Americans
“Connect America Act” directs $40 billion to build out high-speed internet nationwide
Congressman Dave Loebsack today introduced legislation to bring high-speed broadband internet service to more than 98 percent of the country. The “Connect America Act” would authorize a reverse auction by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help fund the deployment of high-speed internet to the largest portion of Americans at the lowest cost. This bill is also included in the LIFT America Act, which is the comprehensive infrastructure plan that was introduced in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“I am pleased to introduce the Connect America Act because the future of economic development in Iowa and across the country depends on having access to high-speed broadband,” said Loebsack. “It is unacceptable that in 2019, many families, small businesses, farmers, educators and healthcare providers don’t have access to high-speed internet, which is needed to ensure our rural communities can thrive. Folks simply can’t compete in the 21st Century economy we live in without access to high-speed broadband internet.”
A significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America. Congressman Loebsack is a leader in working to close this divide by promoting broadband deployment throughout rural America. Loebsack serves on the Communications and Technology subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications issues. He also serves as a co-chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus.
Background on the “Connect America Act”
Estimates by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indicate that $40 billion in funding is necessary to complete broadband internet service deployment so that 98 percent of the country has access to high-speed, reliable broadband.
Three-fourths of the funds would be awarded by the FCC through a national reverse auction, a mechanism that ensures efficient distribution of the funds to areas that don’t have broadband internet service today. By using a reverse auction, the LIFT America Act would deploy high-speed broadband internet service to the largest portion of America at the lowest cost by requiring bidders seeking federal subsidies to compete to serve areas that aren’t served today.
The FCC would be required to allocate to states the remaining one-fourth of the funds under Title I, which authorizes the FCC to conduct similar reverse auctions to build out broadband internet infrastructure in unserved areas, or to unserved anchor institutions such as schools or libraries. If a state doesn’t have any unserved areas, the state may conduct a reverse auction to build out to underserved areas.
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