December 20, 2021

Neguse Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Improve Rural Broadband Accessibility

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse unveiled bipartisan, bicameral legislation to expand access to universal broadband. Led by Neguse in the House, the Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act, is the companion to Senate legislation originally introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD). The Act directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to improve funding for the Universal Service Fund (USF), expanding access to broadband and other telecommunications services. The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Lizzie Fletcher, Diana DeGette, Angie Craig, Jack Bergman and Kat Cammack. 

“To fully participate in the modern era, small business owners, students, families, and workers in rural communities require consistent, reliable broadband connectivity,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Our bill, the Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act, will ensure our federal agencies are utilizing all tools at their disposal to expand access to broadband and other telecommunications services, to connect our communities.”

“It is so important to ensure Americans have access to broadband, wherever they live,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.  “I am glad to join Representatives Neguse, Craig, DeGette, Cammack, and Bergman in introducing this bipartisan legislation to ensure the Universal Service Fund remains strong and available to help expand broadband infrastructure across the country.”

The USF, as a subsidiary of the FCC, supports programs that increase broadband access in rural communities, facilitate rural health care, and expands access to affordable broadband service for low-income families, schools, and libraries. Broadband is vital for economic development, care deliverability, and the expansion of educational services. 

Background

This bill is the most recent advancement, championed by Neguse, to strengthen and promote rural broadband access. He introduced the Secure Rural Schools Reauthorization Act of 2021, to provide broadband telecommunications services at local schools (Read bill text here.) In the 116th Congress, alongside the entire Colorado delegation, Congressman Neguse sent a letter to the former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, asking for immediate action to address data inaccuracies preventing Coloradan families from connecting to broadband internet (Read the letter here.)