Representative David Scott (D-GA-13) has introduced the Broadband Internet Connections for Rural America Act (H.R. 4374), which would consolidate much of the Rural Utilities Service’s ReConnect Program and the farm bill authorized Rural Broadband Program to create the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program. This new program would provide grants, loans, and loan guarantees to finance the costs of construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in rural areas.
The bill would invest $43.2 billion in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development broadband programs and provide last mile technical and financial assistance to rural communities for improved broadband service. The legislation would also incentivize investment in distance learning and telemedicine capabilities and provide funding for creating more accurate broadband maps.