WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dr. John Joyce, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on Thursday introduced legislation to speed the deployment of reliable broadband and expand access to the internet in American communities.
The Broadband Competition and Deployment Act would exempt broadband projects from National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act reviews, bypassing bureaucratic delays and accelerating the deployment of broadband.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have increasingly turned to the internet for work, school, socialization, telehealth services, and recreation. Communities in Pennsylvania and around the country that lack reliable access to high-speed broadband are at risk of falling behind,” Joyce said in a news release.
“To bridge the digital divide, I led legislation to speed the deployment of broadband by cutting through red tape and exempting wireless facilities from undergoing lengthy and unnecessary environmental and historical reviews. In the 21st century, connectivity is key for success. Securing better access to broadband, especially in rural Pennsylvania communities, will benefit students, small businesses, seniors, families and workers as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our economy, and keep our nation on the road to recovery.”
The Broadband Competition and Deployment Act is a part of the Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans’ agenda to boost connectivity and broadband infrastructure. Joyce’s work to expand access to reliable broadband in rural communities has garnered support from leaders across western and central Pennsylvania.
“In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, reliable access to broadband is a necessity. Breaking down barriers to the development of modern broadband infrastructure in rural communities is key for future connectivity and growth in our region,” said Brandon Carson, Executive Director of Alleghenies Broadband Inc. “Accelerating the deployment of high-speed broadband services will level the playing field and equip Pennsylvanians to compete in the 21st century.”
Alleghenies Broadband Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a mission of ensuring that residents and businesses in the Southern Alleghenies region (Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset counties) have access to reliable broadband service.