Senators Graham, Scott introduce legislation promoting broadband in underserved areas

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – Two Senators from SC are among those introducing the Governor’s Broadband Development Fund, legislation aimed at providing broadband connectivity in underserved areas.

The legislation “prioritizes funding for areas that currently lack service, supports the deployment of advanced technologies, and encourages projects that can provide internet service quickly.”

The Federal Communications Commission reports that around 21 million people in the US lack access to high-speed broadband. The majority of those people — 16 million — live in rural areas.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R) said “there are places in South Carolina you might as well be on the moon when it comes to getting high speed internet service. He continued, saying that the legislation is important because “all South Carolinians should be able to utilize the educational, telehealth, and business benefits of accessible and affordable broadband.”

Senator Tim Scott (R) agreed, saying “too many South Carolinians lack access to the global economy, telehealth, and educational tools due to the lack of broadband technology.”

If passed, the legislation would provide $10 billion to the Broadband Development Fund. Money would be used by states for “infrastructure development, providing free or reduced cost broadband service, community center improvements, and other applications.”

Each state would receive a base allocation of $75 million, and additional funds would be distributed based on state population. South Carolina would receive around $170 million.

The legislation stipulates that 30% of funds be used in opportunity zones.