The Rural Internet Improvement Act
ASA, along with the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP), congratulated Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) on introducing S.5137, the Rural Internet Improvement Act. ASA and NASBP have collaboratively worked to involve surety bonds as an alternative form of security to letters of credit (LOCs) for broadband auctions as currently required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utility Service (RUS). S. 5137 includes an important security provision for broadband auctions to protect the federal government’s financial interest as described in Section (E) REQUIREMENTS FOR FUNDING and Sec. (IV), (V) which “allows a grant awardee to offer alternative security, such as a letter of credit.” ASA suggested to Sen. Klobuchar to insert a performance or construction bond in Section E as an additional form of security to protect the federal government’s financial interest for broadband auctions. This would protect the taxpayer interests instead of setting a financial bar so high that rural broadband cannot compete. This would ease the path to participate, protect the taxpayer investment, and reduce the workload on the federal government.