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Hudson Bill to Expand Broadband Access in Rural America

August 4, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08) has introduced the 21st Century Broadband Deployment Act, legislation to expand broadband access in rural and unserved communities.

"This pandemic has exposed new haves and have-nots in America - those with access to the internet and those without it," said Rep. Hudson. "As a Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I am determined to help close the digital divide and expand access to broadband across rural communities in North Carolina and around the country. I look forward to advancing my bipartisan and commonsense legislation."

To promote broadband deployment, Rep. Hudson's legislation establishes two grant programs at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that will award up to $20 billion and $3 billion each over 5 years. These grant programs would require the NTIA to use maps created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that federal broadband reaches unserved and rural areas. The programs would also promote public-private partnerships that have streamlined their permitting process so that federal support pays for broadband expansion, not red tape.

Rep. Hudson's legislation is part of the American Broadband Act announced by Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Republican Leader Robert Latta (R-OH) to streamline permitting processes across the country and bridge the digital divide in rural America. Rep. Hudson's Federal Broadband Deployment Tracking Act is also part of that package.