May 20, 2021 /

McMorris Rodgers Leads American Broadband Act to Close the Digital Divide

Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2021) –  Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today led Energy and Commerce Republicans in introducing the American Broadband Act to close the digital divide, target resources to rural and unserved areas, remove barriers to deployment, streamline permitting processes, and unleash private investment. 

“Far too many individuals, families, and businesses in Eastern Washington lack access to reliable broadband,” said Rodgers. “This has been especially devastating for countless families during the pandemic. Many children have lost an entire school year and counting with no access to remote learning tools. For some parents, unreliable connection at home meant forgoing work to spend hours driving around looking for internet they and their children could connect to. Closing the digital divide will unleash economic opportunities for everyone – from small business owners to entrepreneurs to working moms.

“The American Broadband Act will help us take the next step towards expanding broadband access in unserved communities. This legislation builds on the progress we’ve made to improve the broadband mapping process by ensuring we target and invest our resources into rural and unserved communities. The people of Eastern Washington need reliable, affordable access to broadband, and this bill will help us deliver real results for those who need it most.”

This comprehensive package includes legislation from their Boosting Broadband Connectivity Agenda and additional resources to close the digital divide. The American Broadband Act will: 

  • Close the digital divide through investments that target rural and unserved areas based on accurate maps; 
  • Authorize $20 billion over five years to promote broadband infrastructure deployment and $3 billion to promote rural wireless infrastructure deployment; 
  • Remove barriers to investment and deployment for distressed communities and encourage public-private broadband partnerships; 
  • Streamline permitting processes by incentivizing state and local governments to cut red tape, placing reasonable limits on permitting, and promoting infrastructure deployment on federal lands; 
  • Unleash private investment to win the future. 

CLICK HERE to read the American Broadband Act. 

CLICK HERE for a section by section summary of the American Broadband Act.