Federal Broadband-related Legislation

2017-2018 Legislative Session (below)

Bills listed in red are considered on hold or“failed”
Bills listed in green have passed/expected to pass
Bills in black are still active

Legi-Scan – https://legiscan.com/CA/legislation
Legi-Info – http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billSearchClient.xhtml
Congress.gov – https://www.congress.gov

Full glossy of legislative terms – http://www.legislature.ca.gov/quicklinks/glossary.html

SB 1988 A bill to streamline broadband infrastructure permitting on established public rights-of-way, and for other purposes.  Sponsored by Rep. Roger Wicker (R) and Senator Catherine Mastro (D). 


  • 10-19-2017 Read twice in senate and refereed to committee on Environment and Public Works

Steve Blum’s blogOct 23, 2017


HR 2903 – Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Dave McKinley, R-W.VA, co-sponsor Rep. Peter Welch,D-Vt)

This bill would require the FCC to establish a standard for whether wireless and wired broadband services in rural areas are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.

“Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate regulations that establish a national standard for determining, for purposes of rural, insular, and high cost universal service support…whether commercial mobile service, commercial mobile data service, and broadband internet access service available in rural areas are reasonably comparable to those services provided in urban areas.”


  • 06-15-17 Introduced into House
  • 06-15-17 Referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee
  • 06-16-17 Referred to the Subcommittee on Technology and Communications



H.R.2479 (Rep. Pallone D-NJ) – The LIFT America Act

To rebuild and modernize the Nation’s infrastructure to expand access to broadband internet, rehabilitate drinking water infrastructure, modernize the electric grid and energy supply infrastructure, redevelop brownfields, strengthen health care infrastructure, create jobs, protect public health and the environment, and for other purposes.

  • Proposes $40 billion over five years for deploying secure and resilient broadband networks.
  • Three quarters of the funding will be used for a national reverse auction for unserved areas of the country. The other $10 billion will be directed towards separate state-wide reverse auctions. If there are no unserved areas in a state, those funds can be used to connect schools and libraries or deploy a Next Generation 9-1-1 network.
  • Recognizes that schools, libraries, clinics, hospitals and other community anchor institutions are essential to closing the digital divide  – connecting to and through our anchors is the most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure that every community in America has access to high-quality broadband.


  • 5-17-17 Introduced into House and referred to Natural Resources Committee


SB 993 Restoring Internet Freedom Act (Lee plus 11 other republicans)

A partisan bill that nullifies the rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 26, 2015, relating to the reclassification of broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service. The FCC is prohibited from reissuing such rule in substantially the same form, or from issuing a new rule that is substantially the same, unless the rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after enactment of this bill.

Status:  active


  • 5-1-17 Introduced into Senate and referred to Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation

Senator Lee Press Release



HB 800 New Deal Rural Broadband Act (Huffman plus 4 other Democrats)

An ambitious plan to connect every American home, business, and school to high-speed, reliable broadband internet that is based on Roosevelt’s New Deal rural electrification model.

  • Establish a new Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives to coordinate and centralize all Federal rural broadband programs;
  •  Authorize $20 billion for new broadband infrastructure focused on rural communities and those without adequate access;
  • Authorize a new Tribal Broadband Assistance Program to support tribal communities in broadband deployment;
  • Improve and modernize the Telecommunications Loan and Loan Guarantee Program to increase eligibility, allow greater flexibility, and break down federal agency broadband “silos”;
  • Authorize the Rural Utility Service (RUS) to offer broadband grants in addition to loans and loan guarantees to provide small communities with the seed funds needed to compete in loan applications or develop commercially attractive proposals and increase overall (RUS) broadband investment from $25 million to $50 million annually; and
  • Establish an inventory of Federal and State assets on which a broadband facility could be constructed and;
  • Provide land management agencies with cooperative agreement and fee retention authority for telecommunications rights-of-way to leverage public lands for broadband deployment

Current Status:  active


  • 2-01-17 Introduced into House and referred to Com. on Agriculture and Com. on Natural Resources
  • 2-03-17 Referred to sub-committee on Communications and Technology
  • 2-15-17 Referred to sub-committee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs; referred to sub-committee on Federal lands
  • 2-24-17 Referred to sub-committee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit


Congressman Huffman’s press release – Feb 2, 2017



HR 2425 The Public Lands Telecommunications Act (Huffman) 

To support the establishment and improvement of communications sites on or adjacent to Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture through the retention and use of rental fees associated with such sites, and for other purposes.

This bill would accelerate broadband and telecommunications deployment on and near public lands by:

  • Providing federal land management agencies with fee retention authority for rights-of-way and other telecommunications infrastructure use authorizations to ensure these funds are reinvested to further broadband and telecommunications deployment;
  • Providing cooperative agreement authority to federal land management agencies for the administration of communications sites to break down funding silos and encourage new federal partnerships.

Current Status: active


  • 5-15-17 Introduced into House for 2017 and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources,  Committee on Agriculture, and Sub-committee on Federal Lands
  • 5-23-17  Subcommittee hearings held
  • 6-8-17  Referred to Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee
  • 6-27-17  Sub-committee hearing (expected to pass, and onto the full floor)

Link to Congressman Huffman’s podcast


S1013 (Sen. Moore, R-WV)- Gigabit Opportunity Act

The GO Act would amend the Internal Revenue Code by proposing tax changes to give private sector companies a greater incentive to deploy broadband in low-income areas called “Gigabit Opportunity Zones.” GO Zones are defined as geographically concentrated areas that are facing obstacles to economic and broadband development.


  • 5-3-17 Introduced into Senate and referred to Committee on Finance


SB293 Investing in Opportunity Act

(see also AB828 introduced in house)

Investing in Opportunity Act This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to authorize the designation of opportunity zones in low-income communities and to provide tax incentives for investments in the zones, including deferring the recognition of capital gains that are reinvested in the zones.

Co-authors: bi-partisan support with 15 co-authors

Current status: active


  • 2-2-17 Introduced in Senate; referred to Committee on Finance

See similar bill introduced in House AB 828

Muli-channel article 5-3-17