The Ripon Advance: Kinzinger commends inclusion of broadband bills in nation's new spending law

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) praised newly enacted legislation he introduced extending broadband internet and wireless coverage to America’s rural areas.

 

“I’m proud that my provisions and others I supported were included in the FY 2018 Omnibus, to help folks in my district and across the country,” Rep. Kinzinger said in an April 5 statement. “While our broadband and telecommunications work continues, we are taking big steps toward ensuring rural Americans and veterans have the tools they need to flourish.”

Rep. Kinzinger, a member of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act of 2017, H.R. 1814, in March 2017 and the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2017, H.R. 3995, in October 2017. Both measures were included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, H.R. 1625, that President Donald Trump signed into law last month to fund the federal government through Sept. 30. The congressman voted to pass the federal spending package.

“After months of hard work by our House Energy and Commerce Committee, we have produced and enacted legislation to better utilize broadband spectrum, increase competitiveness and expand broadband access in rural areas,” said Rep. Kinzinger.

H.R. 1814 directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a program that enables wireless carriers to partition licenses issued under the Communications Act of 1934 so unused spectrum can be sold to small carriers with fewer than 1,500 employees serving rural areas.

Meanwhile, H.R. 3995 directs the FCC to issue a report to Congress on the current status of broadband availability to United States military veterans who are low-income or live in rural areas, as well as ways to improve their access to such service, according to Rep. Kinzinger’s staff.

The statement from Kinzinger’s office also cited another broadband initiative that was included in the federal funding bill that would provide $625 million in additional resources for expanding rural broadband in communities in Kinzinger’s home district as well as across the country.

“In the 21st Century, broadband access is critical in connecting with loved ones as well as accessing information on jobs, benefits, education, health services and more,” said Rep. Kinzinger, one of six co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus.

“Our rural communities have significantly lower rates of broadband availability and it’s important that we close that service gap,” the congressman added.

 

The original article can be found on The Ripon Advance website here.