Washington, D.C. – Senator Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.-20) today introduced the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, bicameral legislation that fosters the development and growth of broadband resources for businesses as well as underserved urban and rural communities in Nevada, and throughout the country. The companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Susan Brooks (R-Ind).
“Far too many communities across Nevada still lack access to high speed broadband,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The ACCESS BROADBAND Act enhances the federal government’s ability to support the expansion of wireless services and broadband infrastructure essential to helping underserved communities in Nevada, and across America get connected. I look forward to acting on this legislation to lay the groundwork for 5G networks that serve the needs of first responders, businesses and local school districts that need fast, reliable internet. Nevada is the Innovation State, and in order for us to continue being leaders, our communities must have access to high quality broadband that provides our states’ with the 21st century infrastructure they need to thrive.”
“Reliable access to the internet is vital to our economy and way of life, whether for students doing homework, job seekers training for a new career, doctors reading a medical scan or entrepreneurs starting a small business,” said Representative Tonko. “Despite its importance, federal resources supporting broadband expansion are poorly tracked with little coordination across agencies or departments that are doing this work, making it harder for our local businesses and community leaders to access them. This bill is a step towards better broadband access for our communities and better government for all of us.”
Senator Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced the ACCESS BROADBAND Act with Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
The ACCESS BROADBAND Act requires the Department of Commerce to establish the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The bill aims to streamline processes for entities such as schools, small businesses and local communities to access federal broadband resources through a simplified application process and better oversight of federal broadband support programs.
Since coming to the United States Senate in 2016, Senator Cortez Masto has been an advocate for the responsible use of technology to foster innovation and strengthen Nevada’s, and America’s, economy. During the 115th Congress, Senator Cortez Masto unveiled her Innovation State Initiative, a package of legislative priorities that include funding for SMART Communities, providing for greater broadband access in underserved rural and urban communities, and ensuring that there are guardrails in legislation that provide for the responsible and safe use of technology and that protect workers.
Full text of the bill is available here.