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Senators Manchin, Heller introduce bill to expand access to rural broadband

 “Rural Broadband Deployment Streamlining Act” ensures efforts to deploy broadband infrastructure are expedited

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced bipartisan legislation that would expand Americans’ access to broadband by streamlining the application process required to construct broadband infrastructure on federal lands.

U.S. Senate Joe Manchin

 

“Streamlining efforts to expand broadband deployment in rural areas like much of West Virginia is a necessary part of closing the digital divide,” said Senator Manchin. “Importantly, this legislation includes an assessment of whether the data in the National Broadband Map accurately reflects the broadband coverage currently available to rural consumers and ensures that federal agencies are not unduly delaying the expansion of broadband access in rural America. This legislation is a critical step towards ensuring that the infrastructure necessary for broadband coverage in unserved and underserved communities is more quickly deployed to our rural communities in West Virginia.”

“Access to high-speed broadband is a pillar of economic growth in the U.S., yet Nevada’s rural communities continue to lag behind because bureaucratic red tape prevents expansion of broadband infrastructure,” said Senator Heller. “Given that nearly 85 percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government, many applications to deploy broadband on federal lands remain stalled in a lengthy interagency approval process. From Ely to Pahrump, I continue to hear that this bureaucratic hurdle is stifling innovation and job creation in our rural communities. Our legislation addresses the federal agencies’ inefficient and inconsistent approval process in order to expand broadband access to keep and attract new residents and businesses to Nevada’s rural communities.”

 

This bill would:

 

  • Expedite broadband infrastructure deployment necessary to expand broadband access in rural America.
  • Require federal agencies to establish regulations that reflect a streamlined, consistent, and standardized process for application review.
  • Ensure that the broadband data collected for the National Broadband Map is robust and reliable by requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the accuracy of this data.

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