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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and several of his colleagues in urging the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to prioritize funding for broadband projects in unserved rural areas. Instead of overbuilding existing broadband infrastructure in areas with reliable broadband service, the lawmakers push the NTIA to put the needs of unserved areas – largely rural areas – first.

“NTIA has an opportunity to make a substantial impact on connecting rural America. However, doing so will require that your agency outline rules that specifically prohibit overbuilding and that set clear criteria to ensure projects targeted at unserved areas are actually prioritized. The regulations and methodology for the distribution of these funds must prioritize projects that are connecting customers and communities to broadband for the first time and avoid projects in areas where reliable broadband is already being provided or where there is an enforceable commitment to build high-speed broadband using federal or state funds,” the senators wrote.

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“Further, you must work in concert with other broadband programs to avoid duplication of state or federal government efforts and your department should ensure that all technological options are on the table to bring broadband service to unserved areas. This will ensure that all customers, regardless of location have the opportunity to benefit from this program,” the senators continue.

Grassley has been a strong advocate for expanding broadband access to include unserved Iowans. Last fall, Grassley supported the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which contains $65 billion for broadband deployment. And in December, he called on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to close the digital divide in rural areas by removing unnecessary red tape.

The letter was also signed by Thom Tillis (N.C.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Braun (Ind.), James Lankford (Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.), John Kennedy (La.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), John Boozman (Ark.), Richard Burr (N.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Jim Inhofe (Okla.).

The full letter can be found by clicking HERE.

Author: Press Release

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2 COMMENTS

  1. And if NTIA, a gaggle of unelected bureaucrats, ignore you, Chuck?

    Thanks a lot for throwing good money after bad. Whose money? We The People’s money! Only 10% of the infrastructure bill actually goes to “infrastructure”, while leaving We the People on the hook for the 90% of the junk spending we don’t want nor need. Another way to look at it, Iowans will spend 1000% of the cost to improve roads and bridges we need and it sounds like we won’t even get the broadband that Chuck thought we’d get to boot.

    What a deal! We’re going to subsidize private companies to overbuild existing broadband and for “equity” in urban areas, whatever equity means.

    This is an out and out foolish “investment” by our crony politicians. And totally unnecessary as Elon Musk already has a contract with DOD to give worldwide access to high speed internet via Starlink satellites that will be far superior to any land-line based broadband.

    The kicker is that there is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that authorizes Congress to subsidize private ventures, public good or not. Lo-info Republicans may think it’s great that Chuck is “bringing home the bacon” thru our front door, but they failed to notice that he raided our larder via the back door and stole far more than the bacon was worth.

  2. I have crap 12mbps from Centurylink. They’ve promised for years that upgrades are coming, and taken millions of millions of dollars to expand broadband, and delivered NOTHING.

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