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WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), former chairman and senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to introduce bipartisan legislation to help small businesses access and adopt broadband technology. Specifically, this bill will improve the Small Business Administration’s (SBAs) broadband and emerging technology resources to assist rural small businesses seeking to grow and start a business.  

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to broadband has become increasingly more important for all businesses who must adjust to the changing landscape. Additional sponsors of the legislation include Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

“Access to broadband is critical for starting and growing a business, yet communities throughout rural Idaho lack this necessary resource,” said Risch. “This legislation will modernize the SBA’s approach to broadband issues while connecting small businesses in underserved rural areas with programs to bridge the technological divide.”

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated existing problems that for too long have hurt small businesses, particularly those in rural areas where access to broadband is limited. This bill will improve SBA programs to help them meet these challenges,” said Shaheen. “This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will prioritize broadband access at the federal level. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort.”

To read the full bill text, click here.