Feb 10 2015

Fischer, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Increase Wireless Broadband Access in Rural Communities

Bill Would Expand Wireless Coverage in Rural Communities Through Incentives to Carriers

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) yesterday to introduce bipartisan legislation that would increase wireless broadband access for rural communities in Nebraska and across the country. S. 417 - The Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act would provide incentives for wireless carriers to lease unused spectrum to rural or smaller carriers in order to expand wireless coverage in rural communities. The senators released the following statements after the bill’s introduction:

Senator Fischer:

“The goal of the legislation is to make unused spectrum – the airwaves we use for wireless communications services – more easily available for use in rural communities. The growth of mobile broadband use for communication, business, and education continues. There’s a real need across the country to commercialize spectrum to meet consumer demands and that need is especially acute in rural parts of the country.”

Senator Klobuchar:

“In today’s global economy, access to high-speed internet is no longer just a luxury – it’s a necessity. If local business in rural communities are going to thrive in the 21st century economy, they need reliable access to wireless communications that will help fuel innovation and open the doors to new markets around the globe. Our bipartisan bill will expand wireless coverage in rural areas in Minnesota and boost local economies that play a crucial role in powering our state’s economy.”

The Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a program that would provide a 3-year extension of the spectrum license to wireless carriers that lease unused spectrum to rural and smaller carriers, encouraging collaboration between companies to bridge service gaps in rural areas.

Senator Fischer has long worked to expand local access to broadband services in Nebraska. During her time in the Nebraska Legislature, she worked to craft broadband policies that have had a positive impact across the state. She has also called for increased congressional oversight of the FCC to ensure proposed regulations on broadband do not place unnecessary or obsolete burdens on businesses and middle-class families. 

Click here to view the Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act.