WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, yesterday released the following statements upon introduction of the Accelerating Broadband Connectivity (ABC) Act of 2020. This legislation would expedite the deployment of broadband service by creating a fund to be used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to incentivize winning bidders of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction to complete their buildout obligations on a shorter timeline.

“High-speed internet service is essential in the 21st century,” said Senator Capito. “West Virginia communities need access to this invaluable tool in order to provide opportunity to and educate the next generation. They also need this connectivity quickly. We have made significant progress in expanding broadband infrastructure through my Capito Connect plan and local efforts, but a lot of work remains to be done. Our legislation is another policy solution supporting broadband deployment in rural, underserved communities. By incentivizing accelerated broadband deployment projects, we can not only connect our communities, but do so quickly.”

“One of my top priorities is expanding access to broadband for communities of all sizes,” said Senator Wicker, chairman of the Commerce Committee. “The coronavirus pandemic has further underscored this pressing need, and I hope our legislation will advance quickly to meet the connectivity needs of Americans living in rural areas, including many in my home state of Mississippi.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the move to online work, schooling, and healthcare has put a spotlight on the divide between communities with internet access and those without it,” said Senator Blackburn. “The ABC Fund will bring broadband to unserved communities with the urgency it requires so that all communities are up to speed with 21st century internet access.”

The Accelerating Broadband Connectivity Act would:

  • Create a fund to be used by the FCC following the RDOF Phase I auction to incentivize winning bidders to complete their buildout obligations on an accelerated timeline.
  • Build upon the existing RDOF process to get high-speed broadband service to rural consumers much faster than the current timetable for deployment using RDOF dollars.
  • Require service providers who receive funds from the Accelerating Broadband Connectivity (ABC) Fund to meet a series of accelerated milestones for their RDOF deployments.
  • Allow the FCC to conduct the auction in a way that maximizes value to American taxpayers while connecting consumers more quickly.

Click here to read the bill.

NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association, USTelecom - The Broadband Association, and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association have endorsed the ABC Act

# # #