Vermont Business Magazine Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vermont) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) today introduced legislation in the US House of Representatives to create a $2 billion Keeping Critical Connections fund at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The fund would compensate small broadband providers that provide free or discounted broadband services for low-income families or students impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“With millions of people required to stay home and students across the country learning from home, broadband access is essential,” Welch said. “Small providers get it – the service they provide is a lifeline to parents and children who need to learn, work, and stay connected with loved ones during these difficult times. This bill ensures small providers can continue to provide their essential service during and after this crisis. We should pass this bipartisan bill immediately.”
“Now more than ever we’re seeing how important it is to have access to a fast and reliable broadband connection,” Marshall said. “With the closure of Kansas schools along with more and more people adopting teleworking procedures, our rural telecommunications providers are working around the clock to ensure students, communities, and businesses have reliable internet access, no matter where they live. This bill will provide assistance to small companies trying to address the unique rural telecommunications needs posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure that all Americans can remain connected during this difficult time.”
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) have introduced bipartisan companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
Source: WASHINGTON – Representatives Peter Welch 3.25.2020