New Deal Rural Broadband Act Introduced in House


Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Rick Nolan (D-MN) have introduced the New Deal Rural Broadband Act of 2017 (H.R.800) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill aims to expand broadband internet access in rural communities based on President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” rural electrification model. Specifically, the bill would establish an Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives within the Department of Agriculture to coordinate all federal rural broadband programs. It would also appropriate $20 billion for new broadband infrastructure, targeting rural and underserved communities. In addition, the bill would create a Tribal Broadband Assistance Program to help provide high-speed Internet access to tribal communities. Finally, the bill would make it easier for rural communities to obtain loans for broadband infrastructure through the Telecommunications Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, as well as authorize the Rural Utility Service to offer broadband grants. The bill has been referred to the House Committees on Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy and Commerce for consideration.

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