Amid global pandemic and increased reliance on broadband technology for school, work, medicine and more for rural communities, Brindisi calls for strong investment and real solution
Congressman Anthony Brindisi announced new legislation to expand access to affordable and reliable broadband services. Brindisi, a champion of rural broadband and an adversary of big cable companies, secured inclusion of key transparency provisions that will bolster his efforts to hold cable companies accountable.
Brindisi and the House Rural Broadband Task Force announced the Accessible, Affordable Internet For All Act. The legislation supports strong investment in broadband infrastructure including $80 billion for broadband build-out, $5 billion for K-12 distance learning and a $50 per month credit on customers’ internet bills for those impacted by recent layoffs due to COVID-19.
“The global pandemic has exposed glaring problems in our broadband infrastructure, but spotty service at unaffordable prices are not new for many in our small towns,” Brindisi said. “As a member of the Rural Broadband Task Force and across Upstate New York, I’ve seen first-hand the need for an investment to bring affordable and reliable internet to our communities.
“If we are serious about bridging the urban and rural divide and making sure our rural communities—especially our schoolchildren—are not left behind in the digital age, we need to work together to build out our infrastructure, add transparency for big cable companies and increase competition in the marketplace. This bill will do just that.”
Brindisi is no stranger to expanding broadband and taking on big cable companies. Last year, Brindisi brought his fight with Spectrum to the halls of Congress when he vowed to fight to include legislative language that would hold Spectrum accountable in funding negotiations.
Brindisi’s first bill in Congress targeted companies like Spectrum for their monopolistic and harmful business tactics. Brindisi’s Transparency for Cable Consumers Act would provide better oversight of cable and internet providers and hold companies accountable that are fined by a state Public Service Commission.
Brindisi was able to include portions of his Transparency for Cable Consumers Act in the Task Force’s legislation. This new legislation requires the FCC to collect data on prices and subscription rates of broadband services, including taxes, fees and equipment rental costs. The FCC would be required to share this data, spurring competition among broadband providers and bringing prices down.
“Big cable companies know their time is coming,” Brindisi added. “Bringing free-market competition and consumer choice to broadband is the best way to rein in these corporate monopolies. Holding these companies accountable and increasing access to broadband for our rural communities is a no-brainer. The time to reduce buffering, coverage gaps and sky-high bills for low-quality service is now.”