Ag News

Bill Would Turn Authority on Rural Broadband Over to USDA

IARN — House lawmakers introduced the Broadband for Rural America Act last week. With this legislation, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be largely in control of rural broadband instead of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  “The FCC’s had their chance, and they haven’t gotten it done,” said Georgia Republican Representative Austin Scott.

The Broadband for Rural America Act is among several other infrastructure proposals from House Republicans. Scott says the legislation will bring high-speed internet infrastructure to rural communities through new investments for USDA connectivity programs. The bill would specifically authorize $3.7 billion per year for rural broadband programs like the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program, the Middle Mile Broadband Program, and the Innovative Broadband Advancement Program. It would also focus on assisting on the most rural and least-connected residents since they are frequently the most expensive to connect. Additionally, the bill will encourage borrower accountability and protect taxpayers with new tools to make sure rural communities receive promised services.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

Image source: Wikimedia Commons