WASHINGTON (Press Release) - Today, Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS) and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) announced introduction of the Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Act. This bill addresses the bipartisan push for nationwide broadband in a way that specifically targets small businesses' needs and potential. This bipartisan bill has been endorsed by the ACT, The App Association, Engine, The Internet Association, NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association, and Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM).
"It is vital that our nation's small businesses have the tools they need to be successful," Rep. Kelly said. "Better access to broadband technology - especially in rural areas, will help them improve business practices, grow their client base, and create more jobs."
"Broadband internet access should be a right, not a privilege," Rep. Moulton said. "No matter where you live, you should be able to get the same online service, compete for the same online jobs, and communicate freely with family and friends. I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to achieve the goal of nationwide broadband. I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to help small businesses and hardworking American families to be a part of the modern economy."
Specifically, the Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Act:
● Provides for training at the SBA to assist small businesses on how to maximize investment and external reach through broadband, while advising businesses lacking access on locating Wi-Fi access points and financing for broadband purchase. These resources would be disseminated to SBA district offices, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and other entrepreneurship resource partners.
● Appoints an existing SBA senior staff member to coordinate training and programs relating to broadband and other new technologies. This coordinator position would also serve as the SBA liaison to the Broadband Opportunity Council, which was created to increase broadband investment and address existing barriers to deployment, affordability, and adoption.
● Requires the SBA to regularly report to the House and Senate Small Business Committees on the coordinator’s activities related to broadband and emerging technologies.
● Requires the SBA Office of Advocacy to collect data for a report on small business usage and ability to adopt broadband technology, in light of pricing and availability concerns.