Long sponsors bill to expand rural broadband

U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) recently sponsored a measure that aims to build up and expand broadband infrastructure in America’s rural and underserved areas.

“Too often, I hear stories of students, entrepreneurs, and families in rural areas that are unable to take advantage of economic, health and educational opportunities because they lack broadband access to the internet,” Rep. Long said on March 17. “This issue is of incredible importance to Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, which is why I continue to work on increasing broadband access.”

Rep. Long sponsored the Internet Exchange Act, H.R. 7112, with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN), which would direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to make grants available for establishing or expanding internet exchange (IX) facilities in the United States, according to the congressional record bill summary.

IXs — also known as internet exchange points or IXPs — are internet intersections where networks connect locally to exchange traffic, according to the nonprofit Internet Society. Of the dozens of IXs across the United States, most are concentrated in big cities and in the coastal states, according to information provided by Rep. Long’s staff.

If enacted, H.R. 7112 would authorize the NTIA to award grants to eligible telehealth and e-rate (schools and libraries) program recipients to establish or expand IX facilities, and to fund connections to and maintenance of points of presence at IX facilities, the information says.

“The Internet Exchange Act will increase the number of internet exchanges across the country, bringing rural west Tennessee into the 21st century,” said Rep. Kustoff. “I appreciate my colleague Congressman Billy Long for working with me to support rural America.”