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E&C Republicans are Closing the Digital Divide with the American Broadband Act


05.20.21

“[G]overnment-run networks fail to deliver access to reliable, high quality, affordable broadband.”  

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris say Americans pay too much for the internet and more than people in many other countries. Both these claims are false.”  

“These proposals would harm competition and innovation, leading to lower private investment in broadband infrastructure.”  

“a wasteful and antiquated strategy”  

“does nothing to close the digital divide.”  

That’s what people are saying about President Biden’s costly, heavy handed broadband agenda. 

It gets a total F rating on closing the digital divide – and targeting resources where they are needed most. If enacted, it will NOT make broadband more affordable or close the digital divide in America.

That’s why Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee are leading the American Broadband Act.

The American Broadband Act will expand broadband access in rural America by targeting grants and removing costly regulatory barriers to broadband deployment. This legislation will help ensure broadband infrastructure reaches all Americans and—unlike President Biden’s plan—is not used to fund duplicative and wasteful overbuilding.

Here’s the scoop. The American Broadband Act:

  • Closes the digital divide through investments that target rural and unserved areas based on accurate maps
  • Authorizes $20 billion over five years to promote broadband infrastructure deployment and $3 billion to promote rural wireless infrastructure deployment
  • Removes barriers to investment and deployment for distressed communities and encourage public-private broadband partnerships
  • Streamlines the permitting process by incentivizing state and local governments to cut their red tape, placing reasonable limits on permitting, and promoting infrastructure deployment on federal lands
  • Unleashes private investment to win the future

Check out this topline doc and section-by-section for more on the American Broadband Act or learn more about how the American Broadband Act will close the digital divide in rural America in this FAQ sheet.

Why Republicans on Energy and Commerce are Leading to Close the Digital Divide

Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (OH-05): “We should be focusing on reopening our schools and our economy, and broadband access will continue to be essential as we do that. This is how we rebuild America.”

Rep. John Curtis (UT-03) 

Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) 

Rep. Billy Long (MO-07):  

Rep. John Joyce (PA-13)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) 

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) 

Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02):  

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-02): “Several parts of my district lie within flood zones. I want to be sure that my constituents have access to updated [broadband] technologies, to harness the potential power that these capabilities offer.” 

Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06): “Rural areas like Eastern and Southeastern Ohio are hungry for opportunities, and there is great demand for reliable broadband that would open the doors for businesses, schools, and homes to grow our economy and revitalize our region of the country. And, as we strive to reach underserved communities, we must also streamline the process to get them served as quickly as possible.” 

Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08): Connecting our rural communities to broadband has never been more important than right now.” 

Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-01): “Access to high-speed broadband is a critical part of today’s modern economy no matter where you live.”   

Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03) on expanding broadband access in rural communities: “This is an issue I’ve long been behind & the COVID-19 pandemic has added a sense of urgency for Congress to get it done!” 

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