WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 1328, the Advancing Critical Connectivity Expands Service, Small Businesses Resources, Opportunities, Access, and Data Based on Assessed Need and Demand (ACCESS BROADBAND) Act.
H.R. 1328 establishes an office of Internet Connectivity and Growth at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to coordinate and track federal funding for broadband across all agencies. This office would streamline the process of applying for federal funding for projects that expand broadband access.
“Lack of broadband access, particularly in rural areas, is an issue which affects far too many communities across the country. The ACCESS BROADBAND Act is an important piece of the puzzle to help close the digital divide by coordinating federal broadband programs to ensure federal investments are targeted at unserved areas. Simplifying this process for small businesses and local communities will help bring broadband connectivity to underserved and rural areas across the country and I hope we can soon consider an NTIA reauthorization, which is sorely needed to effectuate the goals of this bill.” Walden said.
He continued, “Passage of this bill speaks to the dedication of members from both sides of the aisle to closing the digital divide, but I want to especially thank Rep. Susan Brooks for helping reintroduce this bill this Congress, as well as Rep. Bill Johnson for his continued commitment to rural broadband deployment.”
Last Congress, H.R. 3994, the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, introduced by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), passed the House by voice vote.