A bipartisan group of senators – Sens. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M.; John Thune, R-S.D.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Deb Fischer, R-Neb. – have reintroduced the Rural Internet Improvement Act. The legislation would “streamline and bolster U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development broadband programs and ensure that their funding is being targeted to rural areas that need it the most,” according to the bill’s cosponsors.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., along with 16 House colleagues in a Dec. 7 letter, called on Senate and House appropriators to prioritize funding for broadband infrastructure projects and reject proposed cuts included in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 funding bill.
In the September 2020 President’s Management Agenda (PMA) updates, two Federal agencies focused on rural broadband expansion reported they are meeting key milestones.
Both the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Commerce are progressing ahead on rural broadband agency priority goals (APG) as a part of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) with some help from emergency funds in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) made its first investment under its ReConnect pilot program to support broadband availability, offering $2.85 million to a local service provider in Tennessee, the department announced October 18.