Expanding Broadband in Rural Areas

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s tech and telecom subcommittee will mark up four bills: H.R. 2345 (115), aimed at creating a nationwide three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; H.R. 5709 (115), which would combat pirate radio by significantly increasing fines for unlicensed transmissions; H.R. 3994 (115), which would direct the Commerce Department to create an office within National Telecommunications and Information Administration focused on expanding broadband in rural areas; and H.R. 4881 (115), which would require the FCC to launch a task force with the Agriculture Department meant to push broadband out to farms.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech [Emphsis added]

H.R. 4881. Introduced in House (01/25/2018)
Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018

This bill requires the Federal Communications Commission to establish the Task Force for Meeting Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States. The task force’s duties include: (1) identifying and measuring current gaps in broadband Internet access service coverage of cropland and ranchland; (2) assembling a comprehensive guide of all federal programs and resources working to expand broadband Internet access service on unserved cropland and ranchland; and (3) developing policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service on unserved cropland and ranchland.

H.R. 3994. Introduced in House (10/06/2017)
Advancing Critical Connectivity Expands Service, Small Business Resources, Opportunities, Access, and Data Based on Assessed Need and Demand Act or the ACCESS BROADBAND Act

This bill requires the Department of Commerce to establish the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The office shall:

• connect with communities that need access to high-speed internet and improved digital inclusion efforts,
• hold regional workshops to share best practices and effective strategies for promoting broadband access and adoption,
• develop targeted broadband training and presentations for various demographic communities through media,
• develop and distribute publications providing guidance to communities for expanding broadband access and adoption, and
• track construction and use of any broadband infrastructure built using federal support.

The office must report annually: (1) a description of the office’s work, (2) the number of U.S. residents who received broadband as result of federal broadband programs and the Universal Service Fund program, and (3) an estimate of the economic impact of such broadband deployment efforts on the local economy.

The office shall consult with any agency offering a federal broadband support program in order to streamline the application process and create one application that may be submitted to apply for all federal broadband support programs.

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