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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to the introduction of the BRIDGE Act by Sens. Bennet (D-Colo.), Portman (R-Ohio), and King (I-Maine), Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks President, commented:
“Bridging the digital divide for America’s unserved areas is absolutely critical to bringing both rural and urban communities into the 21st century. Unfortunately, the ostensibly bipartisan BRIDGE Act attempts to address the digital divide by misfocusing federal support.
“Although the BRIDGE Act is replete with bad ideas and burdensome new rules, three areas of this legislation are particularly problematic. First, only half of the $40 billion provided to address the digital divide can go towards unserved areas and requires impractical minimum buildout speeds of 100/100 mbps. The BRIDGE Act would also impose new rate regulations on broadband services in spite of the fact that numerous programs already exist to help low-income individuals access broadband services.
“Finally, and perhaps most preposterously, the BRIDGE Act would preempt state and local laws banning municipal broadband. Ignoring the fact that municipal broadband networks have regularly been costly failures, preempting state and local government’s discretion of whether or not to allow such public-run networks flies in the face of federalism.