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Thursday March 21st, 2019 10:19PM

Collins first legislation of 2019 promotes accountability for rural broadband providers

By AccessWDUN Staff
North Georgia Congressman Doug Collins wants to make sure there's more accountability from the companies that are providing internet services to rural customers.
 
With that goal in mind, the Gainesville Republican has introduced the Connect America Fund (CAF) Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R. 427).
 
"For years, Northeast Georgians have consistently struggled to gain access to reliable broadband speeds. Congress has taken significant steps toward expanding rural broadband infrastructure in recent years, including securing federal funding to providers in rural areas. However, some carriers – particularly in Northeast Georgia – have failed to provide adequate broadband speeds to consumers despite collecting taxpayer dollars," Collins said in a press statement.

Collins said improving access to reliable broadband service in rural areas continues to be a top priority for him while he's in office. 
 
"This legislation institutes specific tools to hold providers accountable for accurate reporting while ensuring households and businesses throughout our rural communities have access to the broadband services required to compete in the 21st-century economy," Collins said.
 
Among the provisions of the legislation:
  • Increases Accountability – By requiring Connect America Fund (CAF) recipients to include additional information in their quarterly reports to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this bill will ensure CAF recipients are accurately reporting speeds provided to customers.
  • Increases Oversight – By increasing accuracy of the quarterly reports, the FCC will have the data they need to adequately disperse CAF funds and exercise oversight over CAF resources.
  • Protects Consumers – By ensuring CAF funds are being used as intended, rural and underserved areas will have increased access to reliable broadband services.

Collins has introduced other federal legislation related to rural broadband access. The Gigabit Opportunity - or GO - Act was introduced in June 2017 with a goal to promote broadband development in rural and economically disadvantaged areas.

Collins also coordinated a May 30, 2018 forum in Dahlonega with the Federal Communications Commission chairman, so that local stakeholders could discuss their concerns. 

Full text of H.R. 427 can be found here.  The section by section can be found here

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News, Politics
  • Associated Tags: Doug Collins, Rep. Doug Collins , broadband access, rural internet, Connect America Fund (CAF) Accountability Act of 2019
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