The Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility (E-BRIDGE) Act (H.R. 1752) removes hurdles for broadband projects under EDA grants, including difficult last-mile efforts that often delay rural broadband deployment. It also ensures that local communities can partner with the private sector in carrying out broadband projects and gives communities more flexibility in complying with their funding match requirements.
The E-BRIDGE Act was re-introduced by Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), along with Rep. Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR), Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS), and Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) on March 24, 2023.
Chairman Graves introduced the E-BRIDGE Act in both the 116th and 117th Congress, and it has previously passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support.
“Increasing numbers of Americans are regularly working, buying food and supplies, and receiving critical medical care without leaving their homes, thanks to high-speed broadband. These services and abilities have become critical for many businesses and job creators. Unfortunately, too many of our communities, particularly in rural America, still lack broadband access. In some cases, just completing that ‘last mile’ is what stands in the way of connecting people to a job they need,” Graves said. “The E-BRIDGE Act will help spur projects that attract jobs and businesses to expand economic development and opportunity in rural and poor communities.”
By helping to increase the reach of broadband to rural and economically distressed communities, the E-BRIDGE Act will help:
· Attract new businesses and support current businesses in distressed regions of the country,
· Lay the groundwork for economic recovery in these areas, and
· Better prepare these communities for future disasters or epidemics
Press Release on Bill Introduction
Graves Op-Ed on The Hill: Bridging the Digital Divide for Rural Communities More Critical Than Ever