Gus Bilirakis Brings Back Proposal to Expand Broadband in Floodplains

This week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., brought back his “Coastal Broadband Deployment Act” to help expand broadband projects in floodplains.

Bilirakis introduced the proposal again on Monday and weighed in on it on Tuesday.

“Several parts of my district lie within flood zones,” said Bilirakis. “I want to be sure that all of my constituents have access to 21st Century technologies, enabling them to harness the potential power that these capabilities offer. Being left behind is not an option.”

“More than 21 million Americans could not access broadband before COVID-19, and the pandemic has made even more clear how vital these services are as Americans work, learn, and receive health care from home,” the congressman’s office.

The bill is one of 28 bills championed by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the top Republican on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, and U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, who leads Republicans on the U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee. The Republicans insist the bills “aim to turbocharge public and private investment by promoting new and upgraded infrastructure deployments, boosting competition, streamlining permitting processes, facilitating broadband deployment on federal lands, and closing the digital divide in both rural and urban areas.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the challenges faced by families and workers who still do not have reliable access to the internet. This has prevented millions from accessing vital health care, remote work, and economic resources. Unreliable internet and limited broadband access has also set countless children back in school because of connectivity issues while far too many schools remain closed. It’s unacceptable and hurting the next generation. To make a strong comeback from this pandemic, every House Republican on Energy and Commerce is leading in the Boosting Broadband Connectivity Agenda so America closes the digital divide. This agenda will get education back on track and promote economic opportunity for all Americans across the entire country,” McMorris Rodgers and Latta said in a joint statement last week.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce and the Natural Resources Committees. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

KEVIN DERBY
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