Bill to bring broadband access statewide passed by Senate committee

Published: May 27, 2021

By: Emily Wood | LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE, La. — A bill that would establish a grant program to create broadband access in communities around the state passed through a Senate committee on Wednesday.

“This legislation would lead to better access to healthcare, education and quality jobs,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Daryl Deshotel, R-Marksville.

Rep. Daryl Deshotel
Rep. Daryl Deshotel, R-Marksville

The Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) program would use over $180 million in federal funds to provide broadband and internet access to 400,000 households in Louisiana.

Private and public service providers would apply to the GUMBO program to receive funding for the creation of broadband infrastructure in unserved communities around the state.

In the past year, the Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Office of Broadband and Connectivity as well as provided tax-exemptions on broadband equipment and supplies.

Veneeth Iyengar, the director of the Office of Broadband and Connectivity, said that the digital divide is broken up into three gaps: access, affordability and digital literacy. He said some parts of the state have different needs when it comes to those gaps.

Read more at The Daily Iberian

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