Scott, Graham Introduce State Fix Act to Promote Broadband Access
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) today introduced The State Fix Act to help promote rural and underserved broadband access in South Carolina and around the nation. The legislation builds upon legislation the South Carolina senators introduced earlier this year, The Governors Broadband Development Fund.
Under The State Fix Act the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would provide $20 billion in funding to states to hold reverse auctions. Private contractors would then bid for funding to equip communities with broadband service. The reverse auction system has been used by the FCC to provide telecommunication service at significant cost-saving for taxpayers.
“There are places in South Carolina you might as well be on the moon when it comes to getting high speed internet service,” said Senator Graham. “All South Carolinians should be able to utilize the educational, telehealth, and business benefits of accessible and affordable broadband. There is bipartisan support for expanding broadband access and our legislation dramatically improves access in rural and underserved areas.”
“Connectivity is absolutely essential for South Carolina families and businesses,” Scott said. “Increased broadband access means more opportunity for underserved and rural communities, positively affecting everything from education and healthcare to business and workforce development.”
The legislation was embraced by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina who operate the largest electric distribution system in the state. South Carolina would receive an estimated $620 million from this program.
“We appreciate Senator Graham and Senator Scott for introducing the State FIX Act to address South Carolina’s digital divide,” said Mike Couick, President and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “An estimated 650,000 South Carolinians don’t have high-speed Internet access. This broadband infrastructure bill is an important investment in our state’s future and the prosperity of our members. We strongly support this legislation and appreciate their leadership on this issue.”
Finally, Graham and Scott noted the legislation bans the purchase and services of technologies from state-owned enterprises like China’s Huawei and ZTE.