December 21, 2020
Congress approves $7 billion to support broadband affordability and accessibility
Significant funding for broadband infrastructure, to modernize broadband coverage maps and bolster FCC telehealth program
WASHINGTON, DC – USTelecom – The Broadband Association, a leading association of connectivity providers and innovators, today released the following statement after Congress approved $7 billion to support a range of broadband affordability and accessibility programs in the COVID-19 stimulus package and year-end spending bills.
The funding includes $98 million to implement the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, bipartisan legislation enacted in 2020 to create a comprehensive national broadband map. The legislation also includes $3.2 billion for an Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund, $300 million for broadband infrastructure in rural America, and $250 million for the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
USTelecom president and CEO Jonathan Spalter said:
“Mapping is the sleeper issue of today’s connectivity conversation, and it is great news that Congress made good on its commitment to fund the Broadband DATA Act. Modernizing our national broadband maps to tell us precisely who has (and who still lacks) 21st century broadband will have an outsized impact on helping to solve the access challenges still facing too many in our country.
“The American people are collectively relying on our communications infrastructure more than ever, and the indispensability of broadband to families, businesses, doctors and educators has never been clearer. Congress recognized this and made some very smart and targeted investments to increase broadband access and affordability, to extend network infrastructure in underserved communities, and bolster telehealth. We’ve got more work to do as a nation, but these are bold steps that will yield significant returns and ultimately advance our shared national goal of universal connectivity.”
USTelecom is the national trade association representing technology providers, innovators, suppliers, and manufacturers committed to connecting the world through the power of broadband.