Butterfield Introduces Expanding Opportunities for Broadband Deployment Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) today introduced the Expanding Opportunities for Broadband Deployment Act to increase access to and speed the deployment of broadband to households and small businesses currently without this vital service.
“Across the country, millions of Americans still lack access to consistent and reliable Internet service because the broadband infrastructure necessary to serve all households and businesses does not exist. And in urban areas where broadband service is available, there are numerous low-income families that simply cannot afford it. Quick passage of this critical legislation is particularly important to many rural areas like those I represent in eastern North Carolina where broadband is not currently available.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the absolute necessity of high-speed internet access for participation in the modern world. My bill, the Expanding Opportunities for Broadband Deployment Act, will ensure that affordable broadband is quickly and efficiently deployed to unserved households while closing the digital divide for low-income households at this critical moment in our Nation's history.”
The Expanding Opportunities for Broadband Deployment Act bill will enable more broadband service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund (USF) programs by eliminating an outdated requirement that only internet service providers designated as eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) may receive USF dollars.
Many unserved areas lack broadband access in part because experienced and highly qualified broadband providers who are not designated as ETCs are not permitted to participate in the USF High Cost program.
Expanding eligibility to non-ETCs would enable more efficient deployment of broadband infrastructure spurring greater competition. Eliminating the ETC requirement would benefit low-income families in North Carolina and across the country by providing more choices for broadband service through the USF Lifeline Program while promoting competitive prices and high-quality service.