Sen Wicker Urges Interagency Coordination for Broadband Deployment
In a letter to Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) urged the department to coordinate its new broadband programs with the other federal agencies supporting broadband deployment. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 added the Department of the Treasury to the list of agencies tackling the digital divide. That law tasked Treasury with distributing $350 billion to state and local governments to “make necessary investments in…broadband infrastructure.” It also established a $10 billion Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund that will allow states, territories, and Tribal governments to “carry out critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options.” As Treasury launches its new programs, Sen Wicker urged the Department to follow Congress’s direction and coordinate its efforts with the other federal agencies supporting broadband deployment. Treasury needs to ensure that its funding goes to communities that are truly unserved. This can be achieved by coordinating funding decisions to make sure funding is not going to areas that already have broadband service or pending funding, as well as by reaching a consensus definition of “unserved.” Absent these steps, the country will continue to face a digital divide as millions of Americans will continue to live without the benefits of a broadband connection.
Wicker Urges Interagency Coordination for Broadband Deployment