If Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott and Jim Clyburn get their way, more South Carolina residents may soon be connected to the information superhighway.
Graham and Scott introduced an act late last week that would expand broadband access to underserved rural areas.
“There are places in South Carolina you might as well be on the moon when it comes to getting high speed internet service,” Graham said. “All South Carolinians should be able to utilize the educational, telehealth and business benefits of accessible and affordable broadband. There is bipartisan support for expanding broadband access, and our legislation dramatically improves access in rural and underserved areas.”
“Connectivity is absolutely essential for South Carolina families and businesses,” Scott said. “Increased broadband access means more opportunity for underserved and rural communities, positively affecting everything from education and health care to business and workforce development.”
The act will provide $20 billion for broadband infrastructure utilizing fiber-optic cables, wireless, and 5G technologies, use a reverse auction method to provide top-quality broadband service at the lowest price for the American taxpayer, and base a state’s funding on their unserved (no internet access at all) and a percentage of their underserved populations to distribute funds to the areas of greatest need like rural America and Opportunity Zones.
More than 650,000 citizens lack internet or have adequate broadband speed across South Carolina, and nationally, this number nears 20 million. The State Fix Act aims to close that gap and ensure every American is able to reach their full potential and access life-changing tools to better their lives, families and communities.
Clyburn and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced a broadband expansion bill in mid-March.