WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Hal Rogers joined several House members from across the country to introduce the Universal Broadband Act earlier this week. The bipartisan federal bill will ensure rural Americans have the opportunity to access reliable broadband services. Broadband Connectivity is one of the seven goals outlined in SOAR’s Blueprint for the Future of Appalachia.
The Universal Broadband Act will help sustain the Universal Service Fund (USF) by expanding its contribution base to include broadband services, rather than the current outdated model that draws support solely from telephone services. The costs of building out service to rural areas without adequate broadband continues to rise, while the current base that contributes to the USF is declining. This has resulted in an larger costs, overburdening those who are required to contribute.
“Broadband connectivity is a critical component to job creation, educational opportunities, telehealth and much more – something clearly demonstrated by COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Without access to broadband, rural America is missing out on competitive opportunities,” said Congressman Rogers. “This legislation will help shore up the fund that allows us to support broadband expansion in communities where it’s needed the most for economic development.”
Congressman Rogers joined a bipartisan delegation including Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN), Don Young (R-AK), T.J. Cox (D-CA), Angie Craig (D-MN), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Luis Correa (D-CA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Ed Case (D-HI), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) to introduce the legislation.