Today, the House of Representatives passed the Moving Forward Act. We are pleased to see that this massive infrastructure bill takes several steps toward improving access to broadband nationwide.
The bill includes a provision from Representative James Clyburn, the Rural Broadband Task Force, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee that will invest $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities and ensure that the resulting internet service is affordable.
It also includes an amendment from Representative Deb Haaland, which directs the Federal Communications Commission to grant tribes emergency temporary authority of available spectrum to support wireless broadband networks over tribal lands.
The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel:
“We thank the House for passing the Moving Forward Act. The broadband provisions in that legislation will enable Americans of all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels across the country to connect to the internet. When most of life’s activities have been moved online, the House of Representatives has shown that they will prioritize closing the digital divide.
“This legislation takes a comprehensive approach towards closing the digital divide by focusing on deployment and affordability. Ensuring that consumers not only have the ability to purchase broadband, but also the ability to afford it is key for narrowing our nation’s staggering digital divide.
“We are also pleased that Rep. Haaland’s amendment to extend the 2.5 GHz tribal priority window was passed. The 2.5 GHz tribal priority window allows rural tribes to access unused spectrum in order to help those tribes connect to the internet. Because of COVID-19, many tribes have simply not had the bandwidth to apply within the window. Extending this window will help ensure that tribes are no longer on the wrong side of the digital divide.
“We urge the Senate to pass Senator Amy Klobuchar’s companion legislation to the broadband provisions of the Moving Forward Act, the Accessible, Affordable, Internet for All Act.”