Rep. Marino Introduces Legislation to Bridge the Digital Divide

Press Release

Date: Sept. 26, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

Yesterday, Congressman Marino introduced legislation to aid in deploying rural broadband to unserved and underserved areas. H.R. 6871, the Rural Broadband Connectivity Act delivers on the need to incentivize more private investment in broadband deployment for Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District and the rest of the country.

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. This is critical for more access to connectivity because in many cases, it does not make sense from a business perspective to make expensive investments to provide rural broadband in areas where few people will sign up for service. This legislation changes that dynamic.

By incentivizing these investments through the tax code, we can bring rural America into the 21st Century and ensure every American citizen can reach their full potential, regardless of where they reside.

Congressman Marino was joined by original co-sponsors Congressmen Lou Barletta (PA-11), Ralph Abraham, M.D. (LA-05), Jack Bergman (MI-01), and Paul Gosar (AZ-04) in the introduction of the legislation.

Congressman Marino issued the following statement on the Rural Broadband Connectivity Act:

"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. Barletta:

"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. Abraham:

"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."

Rep. Bergman

"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. Gosar

"Nearly 20 million Americans living in rural parts of America lack an affordable and reliable broadband connection. This means that rural areas are unable to take advantage of educational, economic and health opportunities that exist due to broadband access. Such access is critical for innovation, economic growth, job creation, distance learning, telemedicine and security in rural areas of Arizona. By encouraging economic development, the Rural Broadband Connectivity Act provides a significant improvement towards increased broadband access for rural communities around the country."