WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) said Friday he is concerned broadband internet funding in the bipartisan infrastructure bill may not cover rural America after all.
More than $42 billion would be designated for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, according to Pew. The U.S. Commerce Department would oversee that program. In all, Democrats have proposed $65 billion for broadband funding in the bill.
Thompson is the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, which traditionally oversees rural broadband projects. He fears much of the money will not be distributed evenly.
“Zero dollars for the United States Dept. of Agriculture and the Rural Utility Service,” Thompson said, noting those agencies oversee rural electric cooperatives that are installing internet service nationwide. “That’s where we bridge the digital divide in rural America.”
States would also receive funding for broadband deployment under the bill.