06.20.17

Sens. Coons co-sponsors Gigabit Opportunity Act to accelerate high-speed internet in low-income urban, rural communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Chris Coons announced that he will co-sponsor the Gigabit Opportunity Act or GO Act. The tech neutral, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) would accelerate the development of high-speed internet in low-income urban and rural communities.

“Access to fast, reliable, and affordable high-speed internet is essential to the success of our students, families, and businesses, especially in low-income and rural communities. I frequently hear of connectivity issues in the more rural areas of my home state of Delaware, including portions of Kent and Sussex Counties. I’m pleased to support this bill, which will complement existing efforts within states and localities, to help direct investment to communities most in need of assistance,” Senator Coons said. 

The GO Act has already garnered broad support from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and numerous stakeholders. Last week, U.S. Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives, co-sponsored by Representative Jason Smith (R-Mo.).

The legislation would expand broadband deployment by:

  • Targeting investments to areas poised for growth: The GO Act directs investments to low-income and rural communities with the greatest potential for economic development by providing tax deferral and immediate expensing for companies investing in gigabit-capable broadband expansion.
  • Streamlining patchwork regulations: The GO Act directs the FCC to release a framework that encourages states, counties and cities to voluntarily adopt streamlined broadband laws and be designated as a “Gigabit Opportunity Zone.”
  • Eliminating barriers to investment: The GO Act temporarily defers capital gains for broadband investments and upgrades, and allows companies to immediately expense the cost of gigabit-capable equipment in “Gigabit Opportunity Zones.” The bill also allows states to issue tax-exempt bonds without a low-income geographic requirement.

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