Vol. 17, No. 20
May 24, 2021
House Republicans Introduce American Broadband Act
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) led a group of Republicans in introducing the American Broadband Act, which will:
  • Close the digital divide through investments that target rural and unserved areas based on accurate maps
  • Authorize $20 billion over five years to promote broadband infrastructure deployment and $3 billion to promote rural wireless infrastructure deployment
  • Remove barriers to investment and deployment for distressed communities and encourage public-private broadband partnerships
  • Streamline permitting processes by incentivizing state and local governments to cut red tape, placing reasonable limits on permitting, and promoting infrastructure deployment on federal lands
  • Unleash private investment to win the future

This comprehensive package includes legislation from their Boosting Broadband Connectivity Agenda and additional resources to close the digital divide.
Rural Broadband Bills Introduced in the Congress
Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would allow state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance rural broadband projects, as well as allow the federal government to assist state and local governments in bond payments. In addition, the bill would create a federal tax credit that states and localities could direct toward rural broadband projects.

Sen. Capito also joined with Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to reintroduce the Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility (E-BRIDGE) Act. This legislation would remove obstacles for broadband projects to receive EDA grants. The bill helps ensure local communities can partner with the private sector to implement critical broadband projects. This is the companion legislation to a House bill from Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO).

In the House, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) introduced the Broadband for Rural America Act, which would provide over $7 billion in authorizations for USDA broadband connectivity programs. The legislation:
  • Authorizes $3.7 billion per year for critical rural broadband programs, including the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program, the Middle Mile Broadband Program and the Innovative Broadband Advancement Program
  • Targets limited resources so assistance is focused on the most rural and least-connected residents, which are often the most expensive to connect
  • Promotes borrower accountability and protects taxpayers with new tools to ensure promised services are delivered to rural communities

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) also introduced the Expanding Opportunities for Broadband Deployment Act, which would increase access to and speed the deployment of broadband to households and small businesses. Butterfield said the bill would enable more broadband service providers to participate in USF programs by eliminating the requirement that only ISPs designated as eligible telecommunications carriers can receive USF funding.
45 Groups Support Bill to Expand Community Broadband
Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Jared Golden (D-ME) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced that 45 groups representing consumers, civil rights, industry, municipalities, and utilities are supporting the Community Broadband Act, legislation that will empower local communities to ensure their residents have broadband access by removing roadblocks for public-private partnerships and locally-owned broadband systems. There are more than 900 communities across the U.S. that have deployed community broadband networks, but there are 22 states that have enacted laws restricting such networks. These state laws shield entrenched companies from competition and harm consumers. The Community Broadband Act prohibits state laws that ban or limit broadband systems administered by municipalities, co-ops, Tribes or public-private partnerships.
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Infrastructure
The Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on May 18 entitled “Funding and Financing Options to Bolster American Infrastructure.” Witnesses included Shirley Bloomfield of NTCA; Joseph Kile of the Congressional Budget Office; Victoria F. Sheehan of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; and Heather Buch of the National Association of Counties.
Kinzinger Introduces Legislation Prohibiting BIAS Rate Regulation
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) introduced the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act on May 20, which would prohibit the FCC from regulating the rates charged for broadband internet access service.
Taking Action on Taxes: Providers' Checklist for Tax Compliance
By Matthew Robison, Senior Vice President of Client Success, Rev.io, and Jason Lovett, Director of Tax Technology, FAStek

Telecom tax regimes are complex and ever-changing, and providers of telecom services can find themselves caught between their customers and a myriad of tax authorities. With the growth of cloud telecom services and the companies that provide them, it may be easy to lose track of just how many jurisdictions a provider is actually doing business in. But every one of those jurisdictions comes with its own tax rates and regulations.

Click here to get perspective and actionable advice from INCOMPAS Marketplace Member Rev.io and leading communications tax expert FAStek on how telecom providers can avoid the pitfalls of tax compliance and free themselves to focus on serving customers.

To learn more about the authoring companies, contact marketing@rev.io and marketing@fastektax.com.