Washington, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and fellow Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican members urged House Appropriators to provide funding for improved broadband mapping, which is vital for deploying broadband and bridging the digital divide.
The members penned a letter to Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Republican Leader Kay Granger (R-TX) urging the Committee to fully fund the Broadband DATA Act, which was signed into law by President Trump in March. This bipartisan bill requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to work to collect broadband availability data. While the FCC is hard at work beginning this implementation, they cannot fully implement this law until needed funding is passed by Congress.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, the availability of broadband service is a critical driver of the economy, distance learning, and telehealth services. Given the pivotal role that private communications networks serve in connecting Americans, we must ensure that the FCC has the tools it needs to facilitate efficiently the deployment of these networks. The FCC currently spends about $8 billion dollars per year to support universal service of advanced telecommunications services, much of which supports broadband deployment to unserved areas. Closing the digital divide and promoting broadband deployment have long been bipartisan priorities and funding the Broadband DATA Act will improve those efforts,” the members wrote.
Walden and Latta were joined by Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Pete Olson (R-TX), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Billy Long (R-MO), Bill Flores (R-TX), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Greg Gianforte (R-MT) in sending the letter, which can be found HERE.
Last week, Walden and Latta wrote to Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Subcommittee Chair Mike Doyle (R-PA) urging the Majority to hold a hearing on bridging the digital divide and homework gap.