Congressmen Bergman, Marino, Barletta, Abraham, and Gosar introduced legislation this week to aid in deploying broadband Internet access to unserved and underserved areas. H.R. 6871, the Rural Broadband Connectivity Act, will incentivize private investment in rural areas like Michigan's First District where the digital divide is preventing businesses and families from reaching their full potential.
Specifically, the Rural Broadband Connectivity Act provides a tax credit to entities that make investments in broadband infrastructure that will provide service to rural areas. The biggest impediment to expanding broadband access is cost, and in rural areas where few people will sign up for service, broadband providers have little incentive to make expensive investments.
By incentivizing private investments without the need for costly taxpayer subsidies, we can bring rural America into the 21st Century and ensure every American has access to the necessities of daily life, regardless of where they reside.
Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01) issued the Following Statement:
"One of the greatest challenges inhibiting growth in rural communities across the First District of Michigan is the lack of reliable and affordable high-speed broadband. The Rural Broadband Connectivity Act will allow internet providers the opportunity to further invest in our rural communities by providing tax credits to those who invest and expand access to rural communities. From childhood education to business development, expanding quality broadband access in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula is critical for the future of our state."
Rep. Tom Marino (PA-11):
"The Rural Broadband Connectivity Act provides a wide-reaching solution that will serve as a tremendous step forward in bridging the digital divide. This legislation will spur efforts to unleash private capital to ensure that no American is left behind the opportunity curve based on where they live. By unleashing private capital and channeling those funds correctly, we can ensure the build out of infrastructure to provide connectivity to our rural citizens. More connectivity means better living standards that will provide modern teleworking, telemedicine, digital learning, and allow our agricultural producers access to innovation that will benefit them in the fields."
Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11):
"In today's world, the Internet is an important part of our lives, whether you're ordering new equipment for your business, your child has a school research project, or even if you're just checking the latest football scores. Yet millions in rural areas across the country are living without broadband Internet access, including many Pennsylvanians. These Americans deserve the same digital access as those living in urban areas, and I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of this legislation offered by my fellow Pennsylvanian, Tom Marino, that takes important steps to ensure the people in rural Pennsylvania are not forgotten and are given every possible opportunity to succeed."
Dr. Ralph Abraham, M.D. (LA-05):
"Rural Americans deserve access to high-speed broadband Internet as much as anyone else, and communities need that access for economic growth. This bill will encourage businesses to expand broadband Internet to rural America and is an ideal next step to compliment other actions we've taken this Congress to help connect our constituents to the rest of the world."