Senators eye push to expand broadband in underserved areas

August 1, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Senators from Maine and Nevada have a new plan to expand access to affordable high-speed broadband in underserved areas.

Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine and Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada said their proposal focuses on building the “middle mile” of broadband infrastructure. The “middle mile” refers to infrastructure that connects internet carriers to local networks and facilities such as schools, libraries and government offices.

The senators’ proposal would create a program within the U.S. Department of Commerce that would provide grants for such middle mile infrastructure. They said states would be able to apply for grants to design broadband network programs that support retail broadband service.

The proposal states that the grants would also help design networks that enable connection to institutions such as hospitals, schools, libraries, health care providers and others.