Dems offer bills to boost rural broadband

Dems offer bills to boost rural broadband
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House Democrats on Thursday introduced five bills they say would help displaced workers and rural communities gain access to broadband internet service.

Among the bills from the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Democrats is a measure that would require the Federal Communications Commission to collect better data on mobile coverage.

As I drive through the 24 counties in my district, I often have calls dropped or cannot get a strong signal," Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), who introduced the bill, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the data that the FCC uses to improve coverage doesn't tell the same story. We can't invest in wireless access without accurately understanding the problem."

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The other bills would give credits for broadband access and retraining grants to workers who have been displaced by automation. Another measure would allow low-income students to use their parents' subsidized internet service and require the FCC to work on expanding broadband access to tribal lands.

"Broadband offers more opportunities for more people — whether it's getting a better education, applying for new jobs, or training for a new career," Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said in a statement.

"Expanding broadband to places without access attracts new businesses and new opportunities. At a time when so many Americans are feeling uncertainty in their lives, we have a responsibility to help."