Wednesday, a group of Democrat Senators Presented to the Bill in their latest effort to help reduce the "digital divide" and fund local and local broadband deployment projects.
The law on digital equity of 2019, introduced by Sense. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), and 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) would create two new grant programs to create equal access. telecommunications technologies, mainly in underserved rural areas of America.
The first grant fund would be an annual $ 120 million program that would fund the creation of comprehensive individualized "digital equity plans" to enable states to determine the best course of action to provide access in their countries. communities. The second would create a separate $ 120-million competitive grant program to support "digital equity projects" undertaken by groups and coalitions to improve access.
For years, lawmakers and federal officials from organizations such as the Federal Communications Commission have looked for ways to encourage Internet service providers such as AT & T and Verizon to deploy an infrastructure to broadband broadband in rural areas. Deployment of broadband in more rural areas of the country is often expensive and difficult to achieve. The FCC's Universal Service Fund is responsible for providing grants to Internet service providers to encourage them to deploy infrastructure in these areas, but recent studies have shown that they did little to increase access.
The FCC and ISPs have been repeatedly sounded for inaccurate broadband access cards that suggest that a complete postal code is covered when only one house is served. Other laws have also been introduced to correct the cards.
"As we rely more on technology in our daily lives, we need to make sure every family has access to broadband, regardless of their postal code," Klobuchar said in a statement. "This legislation will help bridge the digital divide and bring broadband internet to communities across the country."
If approved, this legislation will require the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to study the results of new funding and provide local, regional and federal policy makers with information on the most effective projects. "
According to the press releasea complementary bill will also be introduced in the House of Representatives, but it is not known who will sponsor it in the body or when it will be published.
"Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st century – it's not just nice, it's necessary if we want to build an economy that works for everyone," Smith said. "This bill represents a positive step in this direction, as it ensures that traditionally neglected communities are not left behind in our efforts to provide affordable and reliable Internet service to all Minnesota and all others. Americans. "
Klobuchar has already done broadband deployment is a key policy issue for her 2020 campaign. Last month, she announced that if she were elected president, she would create a $ 1 trillion infrastructure plan that would, in part, require all US households to have access. 39 broadband broadband access by 2022.