Young, Senators Introduce Broadband Buildout Accountability Act to Increase Transparency in Public Investment in Broadband Deployment
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Rick Scott (R-Fl.) introduced the Broadband Buildout Accountability Act to increase transparency for a $42 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) broadband buildout grant awarded to the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is currently exempted from transparency requirements under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Broadband Buildout Accountability Act would remove the FOIA exemption and require proof of how the $42 billion is spent to ensure taxpayer dollars are not misused. In addition to Young and Scott, Senators Roger Wicker, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, Shelley Moore Capito, Ted Cruz, Deb Fischer, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Cynthia Lummis, Jerry Moran, Dan Sullivan, and John Thune also have cosponsored the bill.
Senator Todd Young said, “It is vital that we close the digital divide and deploy broadband to unserved Hoosiers. At the same time, we must ensure proper oversight of federal broadband programs to avoid some of the waste, fraud, and abuse that has occurred in the past. This bill reinstates the Freedom of Information Act rules for NTIA’s new broadband program to help us do just that.”
Senator Rick Scott said, “Americans deserve to know how the government is spending their money—especially on a $42 billion grant that will help get essential internet services to those that need it most. My Broadband Buildout Accountability Act will increase transparency and help ensure this taxpayer money is spent with maximum accountability and return on investment. Spending taxpayer dollars should be a crystal clear process. I thank every Republican colleague of mine on the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee for their support and I urge my colleagues to support this bill which increases government accountability and transparency to Americans everywhere.”
Senator Roger Wicker, Ranking Member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said, “Federal funds alone cannot overcome the obstacles to building and maintaining broadband networks. Taxpayer dollars need to be spent efficiently and targeted where they are needed most. This legislation would bring transparency and accountability to the broadband buildout process, allowing more Americans to get connected as quickly as possible.”
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