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Senate Passes Rural Broadband Act


Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester says rural America is now one step closer to better broadband coverage.

The Broadband Data Act that cleared the U.S Senate this week is on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk where it’s expected to be signed into law.

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It directs the Federal Communications Commission to build more accurate coverage maps. That may not sound particularly dramatic, but Tester, who farms near Big Sandy, says it sets the table for important service improvements.

"The maps were really bad. They were really bad. They showed folks had access to broadband who simply did not. My house was one of them, by the way. It’s really important we get those fixed before you can allocate the dollars."

The bill passed without objection in both the U.S. House and Senate.

House Democrats and the Trump administration disagreed this week about how and when to best move ahead with a $20-billion broadband funding program before those maps get updated.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.