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Herrell Backs Bill to Expand Broadband Access

May 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) this week became an original cosponsor of the Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act introduced by Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-Fla.). The GO Act would encourage private investment in broadband service through targeted tax incentives in unserved communities.

“In eight of the counties I represent, fewer than 15 percent of the population is able to access 25 Mbps Internet connections," said Herrell. "Even in southern New Mexico counties with higher percentages, Internet speeds and access in the rural areas lag behind what’s available in other parts of the country."

According to publicly available data, the eight Second District Counties where fewer than 15 percent of residents are using 25 Mbps connections include: McKinley, Cibola, Catron, Socorro, Sierra, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna.

The GO Act would empower states to designate low-income areas that lack fixed wireless broadband service at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps as “Gigabit Opportunity Zones.” Internet Service Providers would receive deferrals, reductions, or exemptions from taxes on capital gains invested in property used to provide broadband service. They would also be eligible for Private Activity Bonds.

Areas eligible to receive a "Gigabit Opportunity Zone" designation must be:

•    An area deemed low-income and without fixed wireless broadband service at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps;

•    An area that faces obstacles to economic development due to a lack of broadband coverage or speed; and

•    An area where economic growth would require access to high-speed broadband for commercial purposes.