Congressional Budget Office
We introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage investment in high-speed internet and protect and expand access to broadband in our rural communities. The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports (ACCESS) Rural America Act would provide regulatory relief to rural telecommunications service providers by allowing them to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These small companies—many of which are the sole service providers in their region—could be put out of business by looming regulatory costs.
The Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2018 (S 645) would direct the Department of Commerce (DOC) to assess and analyze the contributions of the digital economy to the economy of the United States and produce a report every two years. The analysis would include the effect of digital-enabling infrastructure, broadband, e-commerce, and digital media.
The ACCESS BROADBAND Act (H.R. 3994) would direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish a new Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth and direct several federal agencies that offer broadband support programs to amend, streamline, and standardize their applications for those programs. Using information from the affected agencies, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3994 would cost $13 million over the 2019-2023 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
The Rural Broadband Permitting Efficiency Act (HR 4824) would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to establish a program to enhance the permitting process for broadband Internet projects in each of the agency’s field offices. The bill also would authorize BLM and the Forest Service to enter into agreements with states and tribes to allow those entities to carry out environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for broadband projects within existing rights-of-way on federal lands.
The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018 (HR 4881) would direct the Federal Communications Commission to establish the Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States and select 15 members to serve two-year terms. The task force would be required to recommend rules and steps the FCC should take to expand broadband Internet access to unserved agricultural land and to report annually to the FCC. The task force would terminate on January 1, 2025.