Internet

Lawmakers seek to bring internet and broadband to more rural areas – WSB-TV Channel 2

ATLANTA — Despite the push toward more virtual living during the pandemic, millions of Americans still don’t have access to reliable, high-speed internet or phone service.

A House subcommittee discussed several bills on Tuesday aimed at standardizing and improving broadband access no matter where you live.

“As the demand for wireless technology increases, we must adapt,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodger, RW.A.

The Simplified Spectrum Management, Reallocation, and Transfer Act, also known as the SMART Act, would require a standardized framework for spectrum sharing between federal and non-federal entities.

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Another bill would require the Federal Communications Commission and the Secretary of Agriculture to submit an annual report to Congress on enrollment in the Lifeline program, which provides discounted telephone service to recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (SNAP).

The purpose of the annual report is to ensure that those eligible for the program are actually enrolling and benefiting from it.

“The data demonstrates that only a fraction of those who are eligible for the lifeline enroll in the program,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., DN.J.

Another proposal aims to improve internet access for people living in areas where mobile connectivity may not be available.

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“Broadband internet access is a civil right,” said Alisa Valentin, senior director of technology and telecommunications policy at the National Urban League. “Nearly 47 million people in the United States are left offline because they can’t afford broadband, and that disproportionately affects Black and Latino adults.”

Lawmakers are also considering legislation to protect victims of domestic violence who share family plans with their abuser.

The Safe Connections Act of 2022 requires mobile service providers to separate the line from the survivor who requested the change, without financial penalties.

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