Graham, Scott introduce bill to expand broadband access

WASHINGTON (WCSC) – U.S. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have introduced a bill designed to expand broadband internet access to underserved rural areas nationwide.

The State Fix Act would provide $20 billion for broadband infrastructure utilizing fiber-optic cables, wireless and 5G technologies, according to Graham spokesman Toby Tyler.

“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 bill also uses a reverse auction method to provide “top-quality broadband service” at the lowest price for taxpayers and bases a state’s funding on their unserved and a percentage of their underserved populations to distribute funds to the areas of greatest need like rural America and Opportunity Zones, he said.

“There are places in South Carolina you might as well be on the moon when it comes to getting high speed internet service,” said 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.”

Unserved communities are defined as those with no internet access while underserved are defined as those with low-quality service.