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Bipartisan Rural Broadband Bill Would Offer Tax Credits for the Broadband Bypassed

Phillip Dampier July 24, 2018 Community Networks, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband 2 Comments

Rep. Stefanik

Waiting for broadband companies to wire rural America could take forever, so a new bipartisan bill would reward motivated businesses and neighborhoods with refundable tax credits if they cover the costs of connecting to nearby providers themselves.

The Broadband for All Act (copy not yet available) would create a new tax credit of up to 75% for groups of two or more homeowners or businesses who agree to cover the cost of infrastructure to extend broadband service from any available provider to their homes and businesses. The bill was jointly introduced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), who both serve rural districts where broadband availability has been a challenge for years.

Rep. Kilmer

In practice, many unserved Americans live within a mile or two of a service provider, unserved because their homes and businesses failed to offer a suitable Return On Investment (ROI) to wire for service. Would-be cable customers are often quoted prices of $15,000-30,000 to extend service into their neighborhoods — a price too high for most. The new bill would reduce the sting of such upfront costs by offering tax credits to help offset the expense. But it is still a lot of money, and the bill would likely benefit those with deeper pockets the most.

The tax refund would apply to any available technology, so each group can choose the best option that bridges the “last-mile” gap between their homes and businesses and the existing broadband service network.

A copy of the bill was not yet available. If the bill does not disqualify municipal or public broadband providers, it could prove useful in areas where public broadband construction is underway. Many of those projects carry significant up front connection fees to help defray network construction costs. If such costs were largely covered by tax credits, it could provide a significant boost to broadband uptake in rural communities.

Currently there are 2 comments on this Article:

  1. Fred Pilot says:

    “In practice, many unserved Americans live within a mile or two of a service provider, unserved because their homes and businesses failed to offer a suitable Return On Investment (ROI) to wire for service.”

    Goes to show that this isn’t a “rural broadband” issue as it’s so often — and inaccurately — described. Advanced telecom infrastructure does in fact exist in nominally rural areas but it’s as full of holes as a swiss cheese.

  2. EJ says:

    They need to add something very, very important to this bill. It must be the real cost required to provide broadband, not THE price. In no way should a ISP profit from this and if this is not included something in the industry we call loading will insure they do just that. They need to profit from charging for the internet service provided, not the construction costs they refused to incur to provide internet service.







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