Published by FiberOneNewsRadio on MAy 24, 2019
By Sean Wells
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Elise Stefanik (NY-21) reintroduced the Broadband for All Act Thursday, bipartisan legislation to create refundable tax credits for businesses and groups of people who team up to build the infrastructure that connects them to the country’s existing rural broadband service.
“Too many rural communities are being left behind in our economy because America’s internet infrastructure doesn’t reach them,” Rep. Kilmer said. “Connecting communities to high-speed internet will create more economic opportunities for more people in more places. It will lead to new jobs and businesses, empower students by placing new information at their fingertips, and help rural communities get in on the economic growth we’re seeing that’s been largely concentrated in America’s cities.”
The Federal Communications Commission classifies broadband internet as an internet connection with a download speed of at least 25 megabits per second. For perspective, that is also the minimum speed recommendation for Ultra HD quality streaming on Netflix.
According to the FCC, fewer than two thirds of Americans living in rural areas have access to broadband, while 97 percent of Americans in cities have access to at least the slowest version of broadband internet. According to the Speedtest Global Index, the average fixed broadband download speed is almost five times faster than 25 megabits per second.
The Broadband for All Act would create a new tax credit of up to 75 percent for groups of two or more homeowners or businesses to help cover the cost of building the infrastructure needed to get them online. The tax refund applies to any available technology, so each group can choose the best option that bridges the “last-mile” gap between their homes and businesses and the existing broadband service network.
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