Amy Klobuchar

05/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/03/2019 09:10

Klobuchar, Wicker Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Broadband Deployment in Unserved and Underserved Areas

Klobuchar is the co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation introduced the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act. The legislation would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enter into a memorandum of understanding to coordinate the distribution of federal funds for broadband deployment and ensure funds are targeted to unserved and underserved areas.

'It's critical that every family in America have access to broadband internet connection, no matter their zip code,' Klobuchar said. 'This bipartisan legislation will ensure that the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration coordinate and share information on their broadband deployment efforts so federal funds are used effectively to target unserved and underserved areas.'

'Better coordination and information sharing among the federal agencies responsible for administering broadband deployment programs are essential parts of expanding availability,' Wicker said. 'This legislation will ensure the federal government targets its efforts to those who need it most.'

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Klobuchar has long championed closing the digital divide and expanding broadband internet connection to all corners of the U.S. Earlier this month, Klobuchar and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, reintroduced the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act to require the Bureau of Economic Analysis in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Technology to conduct a study of the effects of the digital economy and the adoption of broadband deployment on the U.S. economy. In March, Klobuchar, Capito, and Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced the bipartisan Improving Broadband Mapping Act to improve the FCC's broadband coverage maps and help close the digital divide by giving policymakers more accurate data-including consumer reported data, and state and local data-on broadband coverage nationwide. Klobuchar and Wicker also led the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The bipartisan legislation will identify gaps in coverage and encourage broadband deployment on farms and ranchland.

For the full bill text, click here.

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