Senator Smith Introduces Broadband Bill
Washington, D.C. — Last week, U.S. Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Connect Unserved Americans Act. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) targets funding through the ReConnect Program to areas most in need of reliable broadband services. Additionally, it would enhance the coordination between federal agencies that are disbursing broadband funding to prevent the overbuilding of existing broadband networks at the taxpayers’ expense.
Senator Smith says this bipartisan legislation would help bridge the digital divide by ensuring federal broadband funding goes to truly unserved areas.
Senator Smith has been pushing for broadband deployment to the most underserved rural areas since coming to the Senate. In October 2021, Sen. Smith co-led a letter with Sen. Thune urging USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to continue to grant broadband access awards to areas where there is a higher percentage of unserved households. In June 2020, Sen. Smith led a group of Senators in pushing the USDA to quickly disperse ReConnect funds from the CARES Act.