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WASHINGTON Today, U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (both R-Idaho) joined Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and several Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) expressing the importance of reliable broadband service for rural America. The Senators request federally-funded broadband projects prioritize unserved areas instead of overbuilding existing broadband infrastructure in areas with reliable broadband service. 

“NTIA has an opportunity to make [a] substantial impact on connecting rural America. However, doing so will require that your agency outline rules that specifically prohibit overbuilding and that set clear criteria to ensure projects targeted at unserved areas are actually prioritized. The regulations and methodology for the distribution of these funds must prioritize projects that are connecting customers and communities to broadband for the first time and avoid projects in areas where reliable broadband is already being provided or where there is an enforceable commitment to build high-speed broadband using federal or state funds,” the Senators wrote. 

“Further, you must work in concert with other broadband programs to avoid duplication of state or federal government efforts and your department should ensure that all technological options are on the table to bring broadband service to unserved areas. This will ensure that all customers, regardless of location have the opportunity to benefit from this program,” the letter continues.

Additional signers of the letter include U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).

The full letter can be found here.

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