Press Release: U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn Introduces The ROBUST Act to Expand Rural Broadband
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 1, 2021
U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn Introduces The ROBUST Act to Expand Rural Broadband
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Representatives Madison Cawthorn and Trent Kelly introduce legislation the ROBUST Act to improve and expand rural broadband access to Americans living in rural areas.
The ROBUST Act, or the ‘Rural Opportunities for Broadband in Underserved Settlements and Towns Act,’ requires the FCC to do a pulse check to gauge where internet spectrum is being underutilized and then to emphasize that there is a robust secondary leasing market structure that should be taken advantage of where internet spectrum is being underutilized. The act also encourages the FCC to auction off spectrum licenses in smaller sizes so that smaller providers can compete more effectively for spectrum licenses. Another provision in the bill makes funds available for the USDA ReConnect Program loan applicants to prepare required preliminary engineering reports. The bill emphasizes speed to the deployment of broadband infrastructure by prioritizing ReConnect loan applicants that are able to provide download speeds of 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3 megabits per second, which is the FCC’s current benchmark for high-speed internet.
Rep. Cawthorn issued the following statement: “Tapping into the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and work ethic of people in Western North Carolina through rural broadband will benefit not just NC-11 but our state and nation. This is true for rural areas across our country. America’s greatest resource is its people. The ROBUST Act will help ensure we’re being good stewards of that resource and leaving no one behind.”