Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Provide $2 Billion for Rural Broadband Providers During Pandemic

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The U.S. Senate has introduced a bipartisan bill, the Keeping Critical Connections Act (S.3569), cosponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), that would reportedly appropriate $2 billion to compensate small rural carriers, with fewer than 250,000 customers, for providing free or discounted broadband service to low-income households or for providing distance-learning capability to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to reports, the fund will be administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) and has already been endorsed by NTCA, WTA, and others. In response, the House (H.R. 6394) has introduced a companion bill cosponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VA) and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

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