Last week, both the Senate and House of Representatives voted to approve the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which includes $7 billion for broadband initiatives in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021.
“I commend the House and Senate for passing the COVID Relief and Omnibus Appropriations Package, and particularly for including funds for essential broadband services,” said CCA President and CEO Steven K. Berry. “This is a giant step in the right direction. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the need to ensure that every American, including those in remote and rural areas, have access to mobile broadband services, and CCA has been laser-focused on this issue from the beginning. Including $65 million to implement the Broadband DATA Act is key to producing more accurate broadband data maps, so that areas in need have access to critical funds.”
Specifically, the supplemental appropriation includes $65 million to improve broadband data mapping and implement the Broadband DATA Act; $1.9 billion to fully fund the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program; $3.2 billion for low-income broadband access through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission); and $1.3 billion dedicated to broadband grants through the Department of Commerce, including $1 billion for tribal broadband connectivity, among other broadband provisions. Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) applauds Congress for passing this vital legislation and for including funding for broadband services, especially during one of the most challenging times in the nation’s history.
“I cannot stress enough the significance of fully funding the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program,” Berry said. “Carriers with covered network elements now have the assurance they need to move forward with replacing necessary equipment, while still being able to provide seamless coverage to their customers. As with broadband data mapping, CCA has been working incredibly closely with Members of Congress and the FCC on the supply chain issue, and Congress’ decision today is a huge positive for affected carriers.”