05.25.18

Senators Leahy And Daines Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Broadband To Rural Americans

WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, May 25, 2018) -- U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Steve Daines (R- Mont.) have introduced the bipartisan Reprioritizing Unserved Rural Areas and Locations for Broadband (RURAL Broadband) Act of 2018, which will prioritize federal funds that are used to provide broadband access to areas that are unserved with no access, before they are used to upgrade areas with existing service. Their bill is a significant step toward prioritizing unserved rural areas in Vermont and other states.

Leahy said: "Closing the digital divide in rural America is a national priority, and national investments are vital in getting this done. This bill will help make sure that these funds are used effectively while also ensuring that rural consumers are not stuck without service when providers fail to meet their obligations.”

Daines said: “We must work to close the rural-digital divide so our rural communities can be part of the 21st Century economy. Our bill ensures that these critical funds be used for the communities who need them most.”

Read the full bill text HERE.

STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT:

Roger Nishi, vice president of industry relations, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom: “Senator Leahy’s leadership in introducing this legislation demonstrates his consistent commitment to advancing rural broadband in Vermont and to promoting the efficient use of federal resources toward this goal. This bill will help ensure broadband programs are effectively coordinated and can enable delivery of robust and sustainable broadband services to as many rural Americans as possible.”

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of the Rural Broadband Association (NTCA): “Senators Daines and Leahy are proven leaders on rural broadband and have offered a thoughtful bill to ensure that necessary federal resources are coordinated for maximum impact in high cost rural areas in need of broadband. NTCA welcomes this legislation and appreciates these senators’ steadfast commitment to improving the quality of life in rural America by ensuring as many Americans as possible will be able to experience the benefits of broadband access.”

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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693