Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) have teamed up on a bipartisan bill to "prioritize" broadband access for small business.
The Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act would:
1. "Direct the SBA Office of Investment and Innovation to designate a senior employee to serve as the broadband and emerging information technology (BEIT) coordinator;
2. "Provide SBA employees with BEIT training to help small businesses use such technologies;
3. "Report on the SBA’s work related to broadband and other emerging information technologies;
4. "Require the SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy to evaluate the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses; and
5. "Authorize small business development centers to help businesses access and use BEIT."
“Between a pandemic and historic hurricane, small businesses in Louisiana are facing incredible challenges," said Kennedy. "Helping them access broadband and put new technology to use is a smart way to protect jobs. Small businesses represent 97% of Louisiana employers, I’m glad to help introduce a bill that serves these job creators.
“The economic fallout from COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated existing problems that for too long have hurt small businesses, particularly those in rural areas where access to broadband is limited. This bill will improve SBA programs to help them meet these challenges. This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will prioritize broadband access at the federal level. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort,” said Shaheen.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.