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Tonko Cheers Report Highlighting Achievements of ACCESS BROADBAND Law

NTIA report details accomplishments of Congressman’s legislation to expand & improve internet access

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WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Paul Tonko today applauded the findings of the recent report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) detailing the accomplishments achieved as a result of the Congressman’s ACCESS BROADBAND Act, signed into law in 2020.

“With this pandemic making remote work and learning the new normal for many of us, it is clear that internet access is not a luxury, but a necessity,” Congressman Tonko said. “In addition to highlighting this critical need for internet access, the COVID crisis has in many cases exacerbated problems for millions of Americans who are already underserved. I’ve fought for years to improve and expand broadband internet and was delighted to make a crucial step in this effort with the passage of my ACCESS BROADBAND Act into law. This NTIA report shows the benefits this legislation is already bringing to countless communities. I will continue pushing to ensure all unserved and underserved Americans are delivered reliable, affordable internet access.”

The NTIA’s report, viewable HERE, shows that the ACCESS BROADBAND Act is already paying dividends. In 2021 alone, the NTIA has received more than 700 applications for more than $1.5 billion in available funds, with funding requests coming from 49 states and territories. This funding, which will go toward building out broadband infrastructure and connecting tribal and minority communities to faster internet, represents just the first step in implementing this landmark legislation. The impact of this bill will be felt nationwide as we continue to expand access, create jobs, and grow our economy.

The expansion of broadband internet access is crucial to growing our economy, improving education outcomes, and creating jobs. Although students, teachers, healthcare providers, and countless others rely on internet access for work, school, and communication with peers and loved ones, more than a quarter of school districts and nearly 1 in 4 rural Americans still lack access to broadband at federal baseline target speeds. Broadband expansion provides direct assistance to millions of Americans, and also has wider economic benefits. A World Bank study of 25 countries found that a 10% increase in fixed broadband expansion caused an average increase of more than 3% in per capita GDP, and another study found that $10 billion invested in new broadband networks would support nearly 500,000 new or retained jobs in the United States.

The ACCESS BROADBAND Act took vital steps to address gaps in broadband internet access, including:

  • Establishing an Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) at the NTIA, an agency which already has the necessary infrastructure, resources, and staff to oversee and track broadband funding across agencies
  • Directing this office to simplify access for small businesses and local communities, including by providing small business workshops and other support resources
  • Streamlining the process for small businesses and local governments to apply for federal broadband assistance, improving coordination between government and the private sector.



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