Next week, House and Senate Republicans are expected to take on proposals to facilitate rural broadband deployment and improve broadband coverage mapping data. Republicans may attempt to expedite their rural broadband proposals before the midterm elections.
Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is drafting a bill that would reauthorize the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to increase accuracy of the rural broadband coverage map used by federal agencies to identify underserved rural areas. In addition, the Fiscal 2019 Agriculture Appropriations Bills in the House and Senate provide funding for rural broadband loan and grant programs in the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The House bill includes $550 million for RUS broadband programs and the Senate provides $425 million.