Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Reintroduces Bicameral Legislation To Protect and Expand Broadband Access

  • Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act

Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-02), and Congresswoman Angie Craig (MN-02) reintroduced the Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to study Universal Service Fund (USF) reform and implement changes to allow for expanded access to affordable broadband and other telecommunications services.  The Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act is the companion to Senate legislation introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Thune (R-SD), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

The USF, a subsidiary of the FCC, supports programs that increase broadband access in communities and expands access to affordable broadband service for underserved families, schools, and libraries.  It is largely funded by fees imposed on landlines, but as the use of landlines continues to decline, seniors—who are significantly more likely to use a landline than younger adults—are disproportionately impacted.  Declining revenue also threatens the long-term health of the program and jeopardizes affordable broadband access for low-income consumers, schools, libraries, and health care facilities.  The Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act directs the FCC to reform the contributions system, considering the fairness and relative burden any changes in fees will have on consumers and businesses, as well as the impact and proposed changes the contributions system will have on seniors.

“It is so important to ensure Americans have access to broadband, wherever they live,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.  “I am glad to join Congressman Neguse and Congresswoman Craig in reintroducing this legislation to ensure the Universal Service Fund remains strong and available to help expand broadband infrastructure across the country.” 

“Access to broadband internet is critical for Americans across the nation—and too many in our rural and urban communities lack the broadband infrastructure to stay connected. Connectivity ensures individuals can do their jobs, thrive in school, access health care, and so much more,” said Congressman Joe Neguse.  “By reintroducing our bill, the Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act, we are recommitting ourselves to connecting all communities and ensuring that federal agencies are using all tools at their disposal to expand access to broadband and other telecommunications services.”

“I’m working across the aisle in Congress to upgrade broadband infrastructure across the Second District, particularly in our rural areas,” said Congresswoman Angie Craig. “This legislation will help grow rural Minnesota economies, improve broadband accessibility and ensure those communities have a seat at the table.”

Congresswoman Fletcher and Congressman Neguse previously introduced the Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act in the 117th Congress.  Earlier this year, she also reintroduced the Broadband Incentives for Communities Act, which creates a grant program to provide local and state governments with the resources to facilitate, modernize, and streamline broadband upgrade and deployment.  And in the 117th Congress, she voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which, among other things, authorized the Affordable Connectivity Program, a discount internet service program for eligible households to ensure families can afford the broadband they need for work, school, health care, and more. 

To view full text of the bill, click here.