Johnson: Bill would expand broadband
LISBON — Students throughout Ohio are currently learning from home, but those without access to broadband internet are at a disadvantage. Those businesses trying to operate while having online meetings employees are home have the same problem.
A new bill introduced in Congress this week seeks to help remedy that disparity.
Sixth District U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson along with his colleague Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia introduced the Serving Rural America Act this week, legislation which will create a five-year pilot grant program through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The bill would authorize $100 million per year for a total of $500 million over five years to expand broadband internet service to unserved areas of the county.
“The current coronavirus crisis has starkly illustrated the lack of high-speed broadband in sections of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio,” said Bill Johnson in a press release Monday. “The Serving Rural America Act, if enacted, would greatly help the hard-working people I represent. Importantly, it would require community partnerships between providers and local governments and stakeholders, institute transparency throughout the process, and provide testing to determine if providers are meeting the necessary requirements. If solutions like this aren’t enacted soon, there won’t be a rural broadband problem left to solve, because people will leave rural America and move to places where they and their children have access to the ever-expanding digital world. The coronavirus outbreak didn’t create this crisis, but it has highlighted it. I’ll continue fighting to close the urban-rural digital divide, and I encourage all of my colleagues to support this critical grant program I introduced with my colleague, Rep. Rob Wittman.”
Wittman had noted the act will bring access to about 19 million Americans who still lack high speed internet.