Rosen Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Broadband Services to Rural Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced that she and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced the American Broadband Buildout Act, bipartisan legislation to increase access to fast and reliable broadband service to unserved communities.

“Access to fast, reliable broadband is critical for families all across the state of Nevada — including in our rural communities — to do everything from attending school online to conducting business,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation which would help ensure broadband access for Nevada’s rural communities and help to improve quality of life during this challenging time.”

BACKGROUND: More specifically, the American Broadband Buildout Act would:

  • Require that projects that receive funding be located in “unserved” areas, where broadband is unavailable at speeds that meet the FCC’s standard.  Narrowing the focus to these areas will ensure that the money goes where it is needed most and will also protect against “over-building” where broadband infrastructure is already in place; 
  • Require that this federal funding be matched through public-private partnerships between the broadband service provider and the state in which the infrastructure project will be built.  This means that state, local, and private sector partners, along with the federal government, will have a shared commitment, ensuring that projects will be well-thought-out and designed to be sustainable; 
  • Require that projects be designed to be “future proof,” meaning that the infrastructure installed must be capable of delivering higher-speeds as broadband accelerates in the future.  This will ensure that federal tax dollars are used to help build a network that serves rural Americans now and, in the future, without having to rebuild it every time technology advances; 
  • Direct the FCC to prioritize the funding of projects in states that have traditionally lagged behind the national average in terms of broadband subscribers and are at risk of falling further behind as broadband speeds increase; and,
  • Provide grants to states and state-designated entities for digital literacy and public awareness campaigns highlighting the benefits and possibilities of broadband service.