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Annotated Guide to IIJA Broadband Programs

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BROADBAND GRANTS FOR STATES, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PUERTO RICO, AND TERRITORIES

SEC. 60101. FINDINGS. 

  • Congress finds the following: Congress finds the following:
    • (1) Access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband is essential to full participation in modern life in the United States.
    • (2) The persistent ``digital divide'' in the United States is a barrier to the economic competitiveness of the United States and equitable distribution of essential public services, including health care and education.
    • (3) The digital divide disproportionately affects communities of color, lower-income areas, and rural areas, and the benefits of broadband should be broadly enjoyed by all.
    • (4) In many communities across the country, increased competition among broadband providers has the potential to offer consumers more affordable, high-quality options for broadband service.
    • (5) The 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic has underscored the critical importance of affordable, high-speed broadband for individuals, families, and communities to be able to work, learn, and connect remotely while supporting social distancing.
       

SEC. 60102. GRANTS FOR BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT.

  • (a) Definitions.--
    • (1) Areas, locations, and institutions lacking broadband access.--In this section:
      • (A) Unserved location.--The term ``unserved location'' means a broadband-serviceable location, as determined in accordance with the broadband DATA maps, that--
        • (i) has no access to broadband service; or
        • (ii) lacks access to reliable broadband service offered with--
          • (I) a speed of not less than--
            • (aa) 25 megabits per second for downloads; and
            • (bb) 3 megabits per second for uploads; and
          • (II) a latency sufficient to support real-time, interactive applications.(B) Unserved service project.--The term ``unserved service project'' means a project in which not less than 80 percent of broadband-serviceable locations served by the project are unserved locations.
      • (B) Unserved service project.--The term ``unserved service project'' means a project in which not less than 80 percent of broadband-serviceable locations served by the project are unserved locations.
      • (C) Underserved location.--The term ``underserved location'' means a location--
        • (i) that is not an unserved location; and
        • (ii) as determined in accordance with the broadband DATA maps, lacks access to reliable broadband service offered with--
          • (I) a speed of not less than--
            • (aa) 100 megabits per second for downloads; and
            • (bb) 20 megabits per second for uploads; and
          • (II) a latency sufficient to support real-time, interactive applications.
      • (D) Underserved service project.--The term
        ``underserved service project'' means a project in which not less than 80 percent of broadband-serviceable locations served by the project are unserved locations or underserved locations.
      • (E) Eligible community anchor institution.--The term
        ``eligible community anchor institution'' means a community anchor institution that lacks access to gigabit-level broadband service.
    • (2) Other definitions.--In this section:
      • (A) Assistant secretary.--The term ``Assistant Secretary'' means the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information.
      • (B) Broadband; broadband service.--The term
        ``broadband'' or ``broadband service'' has the meaning given the term ``broadband internet access service'' in section 8.1(b) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation.
      • (C) Broadband data maps.--The term ``broadband DATA maps'' means the maps created under section 802(c)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 642(c)(1)).
      • (D) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal Communications Commission.
      • (E) Community anchor institution.--The term
        ``community anchor institution'' means an entity such as a school, library, health clinic, health center, hospital or other medical provider, public safety entity, institution of higher education, public housing organization, or community support organization that facilitates greater use of broadband service by vulnerable populations, including low-income individuals, unemployed individuals, and aged individuals.
      • (F) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means a State.
      • (G) High-cost area.--
        • (i) <> In general.--The term ``high-cost area'' means an unserved area in which the cost of building out broadband service is higher, as compared with the average cost of building out broadband service in unserved areas in the United States (as determined by the Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Commission), incorporating factors that include--
          • (I) the remote location of the area;
          • (II) the lack of population density of the area;
          • (III) the unique topography of the area;
          • (IV) a high rate of poverty in the area; or
          • (V) any other factor identified by the Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, that contributes to the higher cost of deploying broadband service in the area.
        • (ii) Unserved area.--For purposes of clause
          • (i), the term ``unserved area'' means an area in which not less than 80 percent of broadband- serviceable locations are unserved locations.
      • (H) Location; broadband-serviceable location.--The terms ``location'' and ``broadband-serviceable location'' have the meanings given those terms by the Commission under rules and guidance that are in effect, as of the date of enactment of this Act.
      • (I) Priority broadband project.--The term ``priority broadband project'' means a project designed to--
        • (i) <> provide broadband service that meets speed, latency, reliability, consistency in quality of service, and related criteria as the Assistant Secretary shall determine; and
        • (ii) ensure that the network built by the project can easily scale speeds over time to--
          • (I) meet the evolving connectivity needs of households and businesses; and
          • (II) support the deployment of 5G, successor wireless technologies, and other advanced services.
      • (J) Program.--The term ``Program'' means the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program established under subsection (b)(1).
      • (K) Project.--The term ``project'' means an undertaking by a subgrantee under this section to construct and deploy infrastructure for the provision of broadband service.
      • (L) <>  Reliable broadband service.--The term ``reliable broadband service'' means broadband service that meets performance criteria for service availability, adaptability to changing end-user requirements, length of serviceable life, or other criteria, other than upload and download speeds, as determined by the Assistant Secretary in coordination with the Commission.
      • (M) <> State.--The term
        ``State'' has the meaning given the term in section 158 of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act (47 U.S.C. 942), except that that definition shall be applied by striking ``, and any other territory or possession of the United States''.
      • (N) Subgrantee.--The term ``subgrantee'' means an entity that receives grant funds from an eligible entity to carry out activities under subsection (f).
  • (b) <> Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program.--
    • (1) <> Establishment.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall establish a grant program, to be known as the
      ``Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program'', under which the Assistant Secretary makes grants to eligible entities, in accordance with this section, to bridge the digital divide.
    • (2) Authorization of appropriations.--There is authorized to be appropriated to the Assistant Secretary to carry out the Program $42,450,000,000.
    • (3) <> Obligation timeline.--The Assistant Secretary shall obligate all amounts appropriated pursuant to paragraph (2) in an expedient manner after the Assistant Secretary issues the notice of funding opportunity under subsection (e)(1).
    • (4) Technical support and assistance.--
      • (A) <> Program assistance.--As part of the Program, the Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, shall provide technical support and assistance to eligible entities to facilitate their participation in the Program, including by assisting eligible entities with--
        • (i) the development of grant applications under the Program;
        • (ii) <>  the development of plans and procedures for distribution of funds under the Program; and
        • (iii) <>  other technical support as determined by the Assistant Secretary.
      • (B) General assistance.--The Assistant Secretary shall provide technical and other assistance to eligible entities--
        • (i) to support the expansion of broadband, with priority for--
          • (I) expansion in rural areas; and
          • (II) eligible entities that consistently rank below most other eligible entities with respect to broadband access and deployment; and
        • (ii) regarding cybersecurity resources and programs available through Federal agencies, including the Election Assistance Commission, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
  • (c) Allocation.--
    • (1) Allocation for high-cost areas.--
      • (A) <> In general.--On or after the date on which the broadband DATA maps are made public, the Assistant Secretary shall allocate to eligible entities, in accordance with subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, 10 percent of the amount appropriated pursuant to subsection (b)(2).
      • (B) Formula.--The Assistant Secretary shall calculate the amount allocated to an eligible entity under subparagraph (A) by--
        • (i) dividing the number of unserved locations in high-cost areas in the eligible entity by the total number of unserved locations in high-cost areas in the United States; and
        • (ii) multiplying the quotient obtained under clause (i) by the amount made available under subparagraph (A).
    • (2) Minimum initial allocation.--Of the amount appropriated pursuant to subsection (b)(2)--
      • (A) except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, $100,000,000 shall be allocated to each State; and
      • (B) $100,000,000 shall be allocated to, and divided equally among, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
    • (3) Allocation of remaining amounts.--
      • (A) <> In general.--On or after the date on which the broadband DATA maps are made public, of the amount appropriated pursuant to subsection (b)(2), the Assistant Secretary shall allocate to eligible entities, in accordance with subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the amount remaining after compliance with paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.
      • (B) Allocation.--The amount allocated to an eligible entity under subparagraph (B) shall be calculated by--
        • (i) dividing the number of unserved locations in the eligible entity by the total number of unserved locations in the United States; and
        • (ii) multiplying the quotient obtained under clause (i) by the amount made available under subparagraph (A).
    • (4) Availability conditioned on approval of applications.-- The availability of amounts allocated under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) to an eligible entity shall be subject to approval by the Assistant Secretary of the letter of intent, initial proposal, or final proposal of the eligible entity, as applicable, under subsection (e).
    • (5) Contingency procedures.--
      • (A) Definition.--In this paragraph, the term
        ``covered application'' means a letter of intent, initial proposal, or final proposal under this section.
      • (B) Political subdivisions and consortia.--
        • (i) Application failures.--The Assistant Secretary, in carrying out the Program, shall provide that if an eligible entity fails to submit a covered application by the applicable deadline, or a covered application submitted by an eligible entity is not approved by the applicable deadline, a political subdivision or consortium of political subdivisions of the eligible entity may submit the applicable type of covered application in place of the eligible entity.
        • (ii) Treatment of political subdivision or consortium as eligible entity.--In the case of a political subdivision or consortium of political subdivisions that submits a covered application under clause (i) that is approved by the Assistant Secretary--
          • (I) except as provided in subclause
          • (II) of this clause, any reference in this section to an eligible entity shall be deemed to refer to the political subdivision or consortium; and
          • (II) any reference in this section to an eligible entity in a geographic sense shall be deemed to refer to the eligible entity in whose place the political subdivision or consortium submitted the covered application.
    • (C) Reallocation to other eligible entities.--
      • (i) Application failures.--The Assistant Secretary, in carrying out the Program, shall provide that if an eligible entity fails to submit a covered application by the applicable deadline, or a covered application submitted by an eligible entity is not approved by the applicable deadline, as provided in subparagraph
        (A)), and no political subdivision or consortium of political subdivisions of the eligible entity submits a covered application by the applicable deadline, or no covered application submitted by such a political subdivision or consortium is approved by the applicable deadline, as provided in subparagraph (B), the Assistant Secretary--
        • (I) shall reallocate the amounts that would have been available to the eligible entity pursuant to that type of covered application to other eligible entities that submitted that type of covered application by the applicable deadline; and
        • (II) shall reallocate the amounts described in subclause (I) of this clause in accordance with the formula under paragraph (3).
      • (ii) Failure to use full allocation.--The Assistant Secretary, in carrying out the Program, shall provide that if an eligible entity fails to use the full amount allocated to the eligible entity under this subsection by the applicable deadline, the Assistant Secretary--
        • (I) shall reallocate the unused amounts to other eligible entities with approved final proposals; and
        • (II) shall reallocate the amounts described in subclause (I) in accordance with the formula under paragraph (3).
  • (d) Administrative Expenses.--
    • (1) Assistant secretary.--The Assistant Secretary may use not more than 2 percent of amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (b) for administrative purposes.
    • (2) Eligible entities.--
      • (A) Pre-deployment planning.--An eligible entity may use not more than 5 percent of the amount allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c)(2) for the planning and pre-deployment activities under subsection (e)(1)(C).
      • (B) Administration.--An eligible entity may use not more than 2 percent of the grant amounts made available to the eligible entity under subsection (e) for expenses relating (directly or indirectly) to administration of the grant.
  • (e) Implementation.--
    • (1) Initial program deployment and planning.--
      • (A) <> Notice of funding opportunity; process.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall--
        • (i) issue a notice of funding opportunity for the Program that--
        • (I) notifies eligible entities of--
          • (aa) the establishment of the Program; and
          • (bb) the amount of the minimum initial allocation to each eligible entity under subsection (c)(2);
        • (II) invites eligible entities to submit letters of intent under subparagraph (B) in order to--
          • (aa) participate in the Program; and
          • (bb) receive funding for planning and pre-deployment activities under subparagraph (C);
        • (III) contains details about the Program, including an outline of the requirements for--
          • (aa) applications for grants under the Program, which shall consist of letters of intent, initial proposals, and final proposals; and
          • (bb) allowed uses of grant amounts awarded under this section, as provided in subsection (f); and (IV) <> includes any other information determined relevant by the Assistant Secretary;
          • (ii) establish a process, in accordance with subparagraph (C), through which to provide funding to eligible entities for planning and pre- deployment activities;
          • (iii) <> develop and make public a standard online application form that an eligible entity may use to submit an initial proposal and final proposal for the grant amounts allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c);
        • (iv) <> publish a template--
          • (I) initial proposal that complies with paragraph (3)(A); and
          • (II) final proposal that complies with paragraph (4)(A); and
        • (v) <>  in consultation with the Commission, establish standards for how an eligible entity shall assess the capabilities and capacities of a prospective subgrantee under subsection (g)(2)(A).
      • (B) Letter of intent.--
        • (i) In general.--An eligible entity that wishes to participate in the Program shall file a letter of intent to participate in the Program consistent with this subparagraph.
        • (ii) Form and contents.--The Assistant Secretary may establish the form and contents required for a letter of intent under this subparagraph, which contents may include--
          • (I) details of--
          • (aa) the existing broadband program or office of the eligible entity, including--
            • (AA) activities that the program or office currently conducts;
            • (BB) the number of rounds of broadband deployment grants that the eligible entity has awarded, if applicable;
            • (CC) whether the eligible entity has an eligible entity-wide plan and goal for availability of broadband, and any relevant deadlines, as applicable; and
            • (DD) the amount of funding that the eligible entity has available for broadband deployment or other broadband-related activities, including data collection and local planning, and the sources of that funding, including whether the funds are from the eligible entity or from the Federal Government under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2);
          • (bb) the number of full-time employees and part-time employees of the eligible entity who will assist in administering amounts received under the Program and the duties assigned to those employees;
          • (cc) relevant contracted support; and
          • (dd) <> the goals of the eligible entity for the use of amounts received under the Program, the process that the eligible entity will use to distribute those amounts to subgrantees, the timeline for awarding subgrants, and oversight and reporting requirements that the eligible entity will impose on subgrantees;
        • (II) the identification of known barriers or challenges to developing and administering a program to administer grants received under the Program, if applicable;
        • (III) the identification of the additional capacity needed by the eligible entity to implement the requirements under this section, such as--
          • (aa) enhancing the capacity of the broadband program or office of the eligible entity by receiving technical assistance from Federal entities or other partners, hiring additional employees, or obtaining support from contracted entities; or
          • (bb) acquiring additional programmatic information or data, such as through surveys or asset inventories;
        • (IV) an explanation of how the needs described in subclause (III) were identified and how funds may be used to address those needs, including target areas;
        • (V) details of any relevant partners, such as organizations that may inform broadband deployment and adoption planning; and
        • (VI) <>  any other information determined relevant by the Assistant Secretary.
      • (C) <> Planning funds.--
        • (i) In general.--The Assistant Secretary shall establish a process through which an eligible entity, in submitting a letter of intent under subparagraph (B), may request access to not more than 5 percent of the amount allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c)(2) for use consistent with this subparagraph.
        • (ii) Funding availability.--If the Assistant Secretary approves a request from an eligible entity under clause (i), the Assistant Secretary shall make available to the eligible entity an amount, as determined appropriate by the Assistant Secretary, that is not more than 5 percent of the amount allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c)(2).
        • (iii) Eligible use.--The Assistant Secretary shall determine the allowable uses of amounts made available under clause (ii), which may include--
          • (I) research and data collection, including initial identification of unserved locations and underserved locations;
          • (II) the development of a preliminary budget for pre-planning activities;
          • (III) publications, outreach, and communications support;
          • (IV) providing technical assistance, including through workshops and events;
          • (V) training for employees of the broadband program or office of the eligible entity or employees of political subdivisions of the eligible entity, and related staffing capacity or consulting or contracted support; and
          • (VI) with respect to an office that oversees broadband programs and broadband deployment in an eligible entity, establishing, operating, or increasing the capacity of such a broadband office.
      • (D) Action plan.--
        • (i) <> In general.--An eligible entity that receives funding from the Assistant Secretary under subparagraph (C) shall submit to the Assistant Secretary a 5-year action plan, which shall--
          • (I) be informed by collaboration with local and regional entities; and
          • (II) detail--
            • (aa) investment priorities and associated costs;
            • (bb) alignment of planned spending with economic development, telehealth, and related connectivity efforts.
        • (ii) Requirements of action plans.--The Assistant Secretary shall establish requirements for the 5-year action plan submitted by an eligible entity under clause (i), which may include requirements to--
          • (I) address local and regional needs in the eligible entity with respect to broadband service;
          • (II) <> propose solutions for the deployment of affordable broadband service in the eligible entity;
          • (III) include localized data with respect to the deployment of broadband service in the eligible entity, including by identifying locations that should be prioritized for Federal support with respect to that deployment;
          • (IV) ascertain how best to serve unserved locations in the eligible entity, whether through the establishment of cooperatives or public- private partnerships;
          • (V) identify the technical assistance that would be necessary to carry out the plan; and
          • (VI) <>  assess the amount of time it would take to build out universal broadband service in the eligible entity.
    • (2) Notice of available amounts; invitation to submit initial and final <> proposals.--On or after the date on which the broadband DATA maps are made public, the Assistant Secretary, in coordination with the Commission, shall issue a notice to each eligible entity that--
      • (A) contains the estimated amount available to the eligible entity under subsection (c); and
      • (B) invites the eligible entity to submit an initial proposal and final proposal for a grant under this section, in accordance with paragraphs (3) and (4) of this subsection.
    • (3) Initial proposal.--
      • (A) Submission.--
        • (i) In general.--After the Assistant Secretary issues the notice under paragraph (2), an eligible entity that wishes to receive a grant under this section shall submit an initial proposal for a grant, using the online application form developed by the Assistant Secretary under paragraph (1)(A)(iii), that--
          • (I) outlines long-term objectives for deploying broadband, closing the digital divide, and enhancing economic growth and job creation, including--
            • (aa) information developed by the eligible entity as part of the action plan submitted under paragraph (1)(D), if applicable; and
            • (bb) information from any comparable strategic plan otherwise developed by the eligible entity, if applicable;
          • (II)
            • (aa) identifies, and outlines steps to support, local and regional broadband planning processes or ongoing efforts to deploy broadband or close the digital divide; and
            • (bb) describes coordination with local governments, along with local and regional broadband planning processes;
          • (III) identifies existing efforts funded by the Federal Government or a State within the jurisdiction of the eligible entity to deploy broadband and close the digital divide;
          • (IV) <> includes a plan to competitively award subgrants to ensure timely deployment of broadband;
          • (V) identifies--
            • (aa) each unserved location or underserved location under the jurisdiction of the eligible entity; and
            • (bb) each community anchor institution under the jurisdiction of the eligible entity that is an eligible community anchor institution; and
          • (VI) <> certifies the intent of the eligible entity to comply with all applicable requirements under this section, including the reporting requirements under subsection (j)(1).
        • (ii) Local coordination.--
          • (I) <> In general.--The Assistant Secretary shall establish local coordination requirements for eligible entities to follow, to the greatest extent practicable.
          • (II) Requirements.-- The local coordination requirements established under subclause (I) shall include, at minimum, an opportunity for political subdivisions of an eligible entity to--
            • (aa) <> submit plans for consideration by the eligible entity; and
            • (bb) comment on the initial proposal of the eligible entity before the initial proposal is submitted to the Assistant Secretary.
          • (B) Single initial proposal.--An eligible entity may submit only 1 initial proposal under this paragraph.
          • (C) Corrections to initial proposal.--The Assistant Secretary may accept corrections to the initial proposal of an eligible entity after the initial proposal has been submitted.
          • (D) Consideration of initial proposal.--After receipt of an initial proposal for a grant under this paragraph, the Assistant Secretary--
            • (i) shall acknowledge receipt;
            • (ii) if the initial proposal is complete--
              • (I) <> shall determine whether the use of funds proposed in the initial proposal--
                • (aa) complies with subsection (f);
                • (bb) is in the public interest; and
                • (cc) effectuates the purposes of this Act;
                  • (II) shall approve or disapprove the initial proposal based on the determinations under subclause (I); and
                  • (III) if the Assistant Secretary approves the initial proposal under clause (ii)(II), shall make available to the eligible entity--
                    • (aa) 20 percent of the grant funds that were allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c); or
                    • (bb) a higher percentage of the grant funds that were allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c), at the discretion of the Assistant Secretary; and
                  • (iii) <> if the initial proposal is incomplete, or is disapproved under clause (ii)(II), shall notify the eligible entity and provide the eligible entity with an opportunity to resubmit the initial proposal.
            • (E) Consideration of resubmitted initial proposal.-- After receipt of a resubmitted initial proposal for a grant under this paragraph, the Assistant Secretary--
              • (i) shall acknowledge receipt;
              • (ii) if the initial proposal is complete--
                • (I) <> shall determine whether the use of funds proposed in the initial proposal--
                  • (aa) complies with subsection (f);
                  • (bb) is in the public interest; and
                  • (cc) effectuates the purposes of this Act;
                • (II) shall approve or disapprove the initial proposal based on the determinations under subclause (I); and
                • (III) if the Assistant Secretary approves the initial proposal under clause (ii)(II), shall make available to the eligible entity--
                  • (aa) 20 percent of the grant funds that were allocated to the eligible entity under subsection(c); or
                  • (bb) a higher percentage of the grant funds that were allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c), at the discretion of the Assistant Secretary; and
                • (iii) <>  if the initial proposal is incomplete, or is disapproved under clause (ii)(II), shall notify the eligible entity and provide the eligible entity with an opportunity to resubmit the initial proposal.
    • (4) Final proposal.--
      • (A) Submission.--
        • (i) In general.--After the Assistant Secretary approvals the initial proposal of an eligible entity under paragraph (3), the eligible entity may submit a final proposal for the remainder of the amount allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c), using the online application form developed by the Assistant Secretary under paragraph (1)(A)(iii), that includes--
          • (I) <> a detailed plan that specifies how the eligible entity will--
            • (aa) <> alloca te grant funds for the deployment of broadband networks to unserved locations and underserved locations, in accordance with subsection (h)(1)(A)(i); and
            • (bb) align the grant funds allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c), where practicable, with the use of other funds that the eligible entity receives from the Federal Government, a State, or a private entity for related purposes;
          • (II) <> a timeline for implementation;
          • (III) processes for oversight and accountability to ensure the proper use of the grant funds allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c); and
          • (IV) a description of coordination with local governments, along with local and regional broadband planning processes.
        • (ii) Local coordination.--
          • (I) <> In general.--The Assistant Secretary shall establish local coordination requirements for eligible entities to follow, to the greatest extent practicable.
          • (II) Requirements.-- The local coordination requirements established under subclause (I) shall include, at minimum, an opportunity for political subdivisions of an eligible entity to--
            • (aa) <> submit plans for consideration by the eligible entity; and
            • (bb) comment on the final proposal of the eligible entity before the final proposal is submitted to the Assistant Secretary.
        • (iii) Federal coordination.--To ensure efficient and effective use of taxpayer funds, an eligible entity shall, to the greatest extent practicable, align the use of grant funds proposed in the final proposal under clause (i) with funds available from other Federal programs that support broadband deployment and access.
      • (B) Single final proposal.--An eligible entity may submit only 1 final proposal under this paragraph.
      • (C) Corrections to final proposal.--The Assistant Secretary may accept corrections to the final proposal of an eligible entity after the final proposal has been submitted.
      • (D) Consideration of final proposal.--After receipt of a final proposal for a grant under this paragraph, the Assistant Secretary--
        • (i) shall acknowledge receipt;
        • (ii) if the final proposal is complete--
          • (I) <> shall determine whether the use of funds proposed in the final proposal--
            • (aa) complies with subsection (f);
            • (bb) is in the public interest; and
            • (cc) effectuates the purposes of this Act;
          • (II) shall approve or disapprove the final proposal based on the determinations under subclause (I); and
          • (III) if the Assistant Secretary approves the final proposal under clause (ii)(II), shall make available to the eligible entity the remainder of the grant funds allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c); and
        • (iii) <> if the final proposal is incomplete, or is disapproved under clause (ii)(II), shall notify the eligible entity and provide the eligible entity with an opportunity to resubmit the final proposal.
      • (E) Consideration of resubmitted final proposal.-- After receipt of a resubmitted final proposal for a grant under this paragraph, the Assistant Secretary--
        • (i) shall acknowledge receipt;
        • (ii) if the final proposal is complete--
          • (I) <> shall determine whether the use of funds proposed in the final proposal--
            • (aa) complies with subsection (f);
            • (bb) is in the public interest; and
            • (cc) effectuates the purposes of this Act;
          • (II) shall approve or disapprove the final proposal based on the determinations under subclause (I); and
          • (III) if the Assistant Secretary approves the final proposal under clause (ii)(II), shall make available to the eligible entity the remainder of the grant funds allocated to the eligible entity under subsection (c); and
        • (iii) <> if the final proposal is incomplete, or is disapproved under clause (ii)(II), shall notify the eligible entity and provide the eligible entity with an opportunity to resubmit the final proposal.
  • (f) Use of Funds.--An eligible entity may use grant funds received under this section to competitively award subgrants for--
    • (1) unserved service projects and underserved service projects;
    • (2) connecting eligible community anchor institutions;
    • (3) data collection, broadband mapping, and planning;
    • (4) installing internet and Wi-Fi infrastructure or providing reduced-cost broadband within a multi-family residential building, with priority given to a residential building that--
      • (A) has a substantial share of unserved households; or
      • (B) is in a location in which the percentage of individuals with a household income that is at or below 150 percent of the poverty line applicable to a family of the size involved (as determined under section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) is higher than the national percentage of such individuals;
    • (5) broadband adoption, including programs to provide affordable internet-capable devices; and
    • (6) <> any use determined necessary by the Assistant Secretary to facilitate the goals of the Program.
  • (g) General Program Requirements.--
    • (1) Subgrantee obligations.--A subgrantee, in carrying out activities using amounts received from an eligible entity under this section--
      • (A) shall adhere to quality-of-service standards, as established by the Assistant Secretary;
      • (B) <> shall comply with prudent cybersecurity and supply chain risk management practices, as specified by the Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Commission;
      • (C) shall incorporate best practices, as defined by the Assistant Secretary, for ensuring reliability and resilience of broadband infrastructure; and
        • (D) may not use the amounts to purchase or support--
          (i) any covered communications equipment or service, as defined in section 9 of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (47 U.S.C. 1608); or
        • (ii) <>  fiber optic cable and optical transmission equipment manufactured in the People's Republic of China, except that the Assistant Secretary may waive the application of this clause with respect to a project if the eligible entity that awards a subgrant for the project shows that such application would unreasonably increase the cost of the project.
    • (2) Eligible entity obligations.--In distributing funds to subgrantees under this section, an eligible entity shall--
      • (A) ensure that any prospective subgrantee--
        • (i) is capable of carrying out activities funded by the subgrant in a competent manner in compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws;
        • (ii) has the financial and managerial capacity to meet--
          • (I) the commitments of the subgrantee under the subgrant;
          • (II) the requirements of the Program; and
          • (III) such requirements as may be further prescribed by the Assistant Secretary; and
        • (iii) has the technical and operational capability to provide the services promised in the subgrant in the manner contemplated by the subgrant award;
      • (B) <> stipulate, in any contract with a subgrantee for the use of such funds, reasonable provisions for recovery of funds for nonperformance; and
      • (C)
        • (i) distribute the funds in an equitable and non- discriminatory manner; and
        • (ii) <>  ensure, through a stipulation in any contract with a subgrantee for the use of such funds, that each subgrantee uses the funds in an equitable and nondiscriminatory manner.
    • (3) Deobligation of awards; internet disclosure.--The Assistant Secretary--
      • (A) <>  shall establish, in coordination with relevant Federal and State partners, appropriate mechanisms to ensure appropriate use of funds made available under this section;
      • (B) may, in addition to other authority under applicable law--
        • (i) deobligate grant funds awarded to an eligible entity that--
          • (I) violates paragraph (2); or
          • (II) demonstrates an insufficient level of performance, or wasteful or fraudulent spending, as defined in advance by the Assistant Secretary; and
        • (ii) award grant funds that are deobligated under clause (i) to new or existing applicants consistent with this section; and
      • (C) <>  shall create and maintain a fully searchable database, accessible on the internet at no cost to the public, that contains information sufficient to allow the public to understand and monitor grants and subgrants awarded under the Program.
  • (h) Broadband Network Deployment.--
    • (1) Order of awards; priority.--
      • (A) In general.--An eligible entity, in awarding subgrants for the deployment of a broadband network using grant funds received under this section, as authorized under subsection (f)(1)--
        • (i) shall award funding in a manner that--
          • (I) prioritizes unserved service projects;
          • (II) after certifying to the Assistant Secretary that the eligible entity will ensure coverage of broadband service to all unserved locations within the eligible entity, prioritizes underserved service projects; and
          • (III) after prioritizing underserved service projects, provides funding to connect eligible community anchor institutions;
        • (ii) in providing funding under subclauses (I), (II), and (III) of clause (i), shall prioritize funding for deployment of broadband infrastructure for priority broadband projects;
        • (iii) may not exclude cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, public-private partnerships, private companies, public or private utilities, public utility districts, or local governments from eligibility for such grant funds; and
        • (iv) shall give priority to projects based on--
          • (I) deployment of a broadband network to persistent poverty counties or high-poverty areas;
          • (II) the speeds of the proposed broadband service;
          • (III) the expediency with which a project can be completed; and
        • (IV) a demonstrated record of and plans to be in compliance with Federal labor and employment laws.
      • (B) Authority of assistant secretary.--The Assistant Secretary may provide additional guidance on the prioritization of subgrants awarded for the deployment of a broadband network using grant funds received under this section.
    • (2) Challenge process.--
      • (A) In general.--After submitting an initial proposal under subsection (e)(3) and before allocating grant funds received under this section for the deployment of broadband networks, an eligible entity shall ensure a transparent, evidence-based, and expeditious challenge process under which a unit of local government, nonprofit organization, or other broadband service provider can challenge a determination made by the eligible entity in the initial proposal as to whether a particular location or community anchor institution within the jurisdiction of the eligible entity is eligible for the grant funds, including whether a particular location is unserved or underserved.
      • (B) Final identification; notification of funding eligibility.--After <> resolving each challenge under subparagraph (A), and not later than 60 days before allocating grant funds received under this section for the deployment of broadband networks, an eligible entity shall provide public notice of the final classification of each unserved location, underserved location, or eligible community anchor institution within the jurisdiction of the eligible entity.
      • (C) <> Consultation with ntia.--An eligible entity shall notify the Assistant Secretary of any modification to the initial proposal of the eligible entity submitted under subsection (e)(3) that is necessitated by a successful challenge under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
      • (D) NTIA authority.--The Assistant Secretary--
        • (i) may modify the challenge process required under subparagraph (A) as necessary; and
        • (ii) may reverse the determination of an eligible entity with respect to the eligibility of a particular location or community anchor institution for grant funds under this section.
      • (E) Expediting broadband data collection activities.--
        • (i) Deadline for resolution of challenge process under broadband data act.--Section 802(b)(5)(C)(i) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 642(b)(5)(C)(i)) is amended by striking
          • ``challenges'' and inserting the following:
          • ``challenges, which shall require that the Commission resolve a challenge not later than 90 days after the date on which a final response by a provider to a challenge to the accuracy of a map or information described in subparagraph (A) is complete''.
        • (ii) Paperwork reduction act exemption expansion.--Section 806(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 646(b)) is amended by striking ``the initial rule making required under section 802(a)(1)'' and inserting ``any rule making or other action by the Commission required under this title''.
        • (iii) Implementation.--The Commission shall implement the amendments made by this subparagraph as soon as possible after the date of enactment of this Act.
    • (3) Non-federal share of broadband infrastructure deployment costs.--
      • (A) In General.--
        • (i) Matching requirement.--In allocating grant funds received under this section for deployment of broadband networks, an eligible entity shall provide, or require a subgrantee to provide, a contribution, derived from non-Federal funds (or funds from a Federal regional commission or authority), except in high-cost areas or as otherwise provided by this Act, of not less than 25 percent of project costs.
        • (ii) Waiver.--Upon request by an eligible entity or a subgrantee, the Assistant Secretary may reduce or waive the required matching contribution under clause (i).
      • (B) Source of match.--A matching contribution under subparagraph (A)--
        • (i) may be provided by an eligible entity, a unit of local government, a utility company, a cooperative, a nonprofit organization, a for- profit company, regional planning or governmental organization, a Federal regional commission or authority, or any combination thereof;
        • (ii) may include in-kind contributions; and
        • (iii) may include funds that were provided to an eligible entity or a subgrantee--
          • (I) under--
            • (aa) the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116-127; 134 Stat. 178);
            • (bb) the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136; 134 Stat. 281);
            • (cc) the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260; 134 Stat. 1182);
            • (dd) the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2; 135 Stat. 4); or
            • (ee) any amendment made by an Act described in any of items (aa) through (dd); and
              (II) for the purpose of deployment of broadband service, as described in the applicable provision of law described in subclause (I).
      • (C) Definition.--For purposes of this paragraph, the term ``Federal regional commission or authority'' means--
        • (i) the Appalachian Regional Commission;
        • (ii) the Delta Regional Authority;
        • (iii) the Denali Commission; and
        • (iv) the Northern Border Regional Commission.
    • (4) Deployment and provision of service requirements.--An entity that receives a subgrant under subsection (f)(1) for the deployment of a broadband network--
      • (A) in providing broadband service using the network--
        • (i) shall provide broadband service--
        • (I) at a speed of not less than 100 megabits per second for downloads and 20 megabits per second for uploads;
        • (II) with a latency that is sufficiently low to allow reasonably foreseeable, real-time, interactive applications; and
        • (III) <> with network outages that do not exceed, on average, 48 hours over any 365-day period; and
        • (ii) shall provide access to broadband service to each customer served by the project that desires broadband service;
      • (B) shall offer not less than 1 low-cost broadband service option for eligible subscribers, as those terms are defined in paragraph (5) of this sbsection;
      • (C) <>  shall deploy the broadband network and begin providing broadband service to each customer that desires broadband service not later than 4 years after the date on which the entity receives the subgrant, except that an eligible entity may extend the deadline under this subparagraph if--
        • (i) the eligible entity has a plan for use of the grant funds;
        • (ii) the construction project is underway; or
        • (iii) extenuating circumstances require an extension of time to allow the project to be completed;
      • (D) for any project that involves laying fiber optic cables or conduit underground or along a roadway, shall include interspersed conduit access points at regular and short intervals;
      • (E) may use the subgrant to deploy broadband infrastructure in or through any area required to reach interconnection points or otherwise to ensure the technical feasibility and financial sustainability of a project providing broadband service to an unserved location, underserved location, or eligible community anchor institution;
      • (F) <> once the network has been deployed, shall provide public notice, online and through other means, of that fact to the locations and areas to which broadband service has been provided and share the public notice with the eligible entity that awarded the subgrant;
      • (G) shall carry out public awareness campaigns in service areas that are designed to highlight the value and benefits of broadband service in order to increase the adoption of broadband service by consumers; and
      • (H) if the entity is no longer able to provide broadband service to the locations covered by the subgrant at any time, shall sell the network capacity at a reasonable, wholesale rate on a nondiscriminatory basis to other broadband service providers or public sector entities.
    • (5) Low-cost broadband service option.--
      • (A) Definitions.--In this paragraph--
        • (i) the term ``eligible subscriber'' shall have the meaning given the term by the Assistant Secretary for purposes of this paragraph; and
        • (ii) the term ``low-cost broadband service option'' shall be defined by an eligible entity for subgrantees of the eligible entity in accordance with subparagraph (B).
      • (B) Defining ``low-cost broadband service option''.--
        • (i) Proposal.--An eligible entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary for approval, in the final proposal of the eligible entity submitted under subsection (e)(4), a proposed definition of
          ``low-cost broadband service option'' that shall apply to subgrantees of the eligible entity for purposes of the requirement under paragraph (4)(B) of this subsection.
        • (ii) Consultation.--An eligible entity shall consult with the Assistant Secretary and prospective subgrantees regarding a proposed definition of ``low-cost broadband service option'' before submitting the proposed definition to the Assistant Secretary under clause (i).
        • (iii) Approval of assistant secretary.--
          • (I) <> In general.--A proposed definition of
            ``low-cost broadband service option'' submitted by an eligible entity under clause (i) shall not take effect until the Assistant Secretary approves the final proposal of the eligible entity submitted under subsection (e)(4), including approval of the proposed definition of ``low-cost broadband service option''.
          • (II) Resubmission.--If the Assistant Secretary does not approve a proposed definition of ``low-cost broadband service option'' submitted by an eligible entity under clause (i), the Assistant Secretary shall--
            • (aa) <> notify the eligible entity and provide the eligible entity with an opportunity to resubmit the final proposal, as provided in subsection (e)(4), with an improved definition of ``low- cost broadband service option''; and
            • (bb) provide the eligible entity with instructions on how to cure the defects in the proposed definition.
        • (iv) Public disclosure.--After the Assistant Secretary approves the final proposal of an eligible entity under subsection (e)(4), and before the Assistant Secretary disburses any funds to the eligible entity based on that approval, the Assistant Secretary shall publicly disclose the eligible entity's definition of ``low-cost broadband service option''.
      • (C) <> Nonperformance.--The Assistant Secretary shall develop procedures under which the Assistant Secretary or an eligible entity may--
        • (i) <>  evaluate the compliance of a subgrantee with the requirement under paragraph (4)(B); and
        • (ii) take corrective action, including recoupment of funds from the subgrantee, for noncompliance with the requirement under paragraph (4)(B).
      • (D) No regulation of rates permitted.--Nothing in this title may be construed to authorize the Assistant Secretary or the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to regulate the rates charged for broadband service.
      • (E) Guidance.--The Assistant Secretary may issue guidance to eligible entities to carry out the purposes of this paragraph.
    • (6) Return of funds.--An entity that receives a subgrant from an eligible entity under subsection (f) and fails to comply with any requirement under this subsection shall return up to the entire amount of the subgrant to the eligible entity, at the discretion of the eligible entity or the Assistant Secretary.
  • (i) Regulations.--The Assistant Secretary may issue such regulations or other guidance, forms, instructions, and publications as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the programs, projects, or activities authorized under this section, including to ensure that those programs, projects, or activities are completed in a timely and effective manner.
  • (j) Reporting.--
    • (1) Eligible entities.--
      • (A) Initial report.--Not later than 90 days after receiving grant funds under this section, for the sole purposes of providing transparency and providing information to inform future Federal broadband planning, an eligible entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary a report that--
        • (i) describes the planned and actual use of funds;
        • (ii) describes the planned and actual process of subgranting;
        • (iii) identifies the establishment of appropriate mechanisms by the eligible entity to ensure that all subgrantees of the eligible entity comply with the eligible uses prescribed under subsection (f); and
        • (iv) includes any other information required by the Assistant Secretary.
      • (B) <>  Semiannual report.--Not later than 1 year after receiving grant funds under this section, and semiannually thereafter until the funds have been expended, an eligible entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary a report, with respect to the 6- month period immediately preceding the report date, that--
        • (i) describes how the eligible entity expended the grant funds;
        • (ii) describes each service provided with the grant funds;
        • (iii) describes the number of locations at which broadband service was made available using the grant funds, and the number of those locations at which broadband service was utilized; and
        • (iv) <>  certifies that the eligible entity complied with the requirements of this section and with any additional reporting requirements prescribed by the Assistant Secretary.
      • (C) Final report.--Not later than 1 year after an eligible entity has expended all grant funds received under this section, the eligible entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary a report that--
        • (i) describes how the eligible entity expended the funds;
        • (ii) describes each service provided with the grant funds;
        • (iii) describes the number of locations at which broadband service was made available using the grant funds, and the number of those locations at which broadband service was utilized;
        • (iv) includes each report that the eligible entity received from a subgrantee under paragraph (2); and
        • (v) <>  certifies that the eligible entity complied with the requirements of this section and with any additional reporting requirements prescribed by the Assistant Secretary.
      • (D) <> Provision to fcc and usda.--Subject to section 904(b)(2) of division FF of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
        (Public Law 116-260) (relating to an interagency agreement), the Assistant Secretary shall coordinate with the Commission and the Department of Agriculture, including providing the final reports received under subparagraph (C) to the Commission and the Department of Agriculture to be used when determining whether to award funds for the deployment of broadband under any program administered by those agencies.
      • (E) Federal agency reporting requirement.--
        • (i) Definitions.--In this subparagraph, the terms ``agency'' and ``Federal broadband support program'' have the meanings given those terms in section 903 of division FF of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260)
          (also known as the ``ACCESS BROADBAND Act'').
      • (ii) <>  Requirement.--An agency that offers a Federal broadband support program shall provide data to the Assistant Secretary, in a manner and format prescribed by the Assistant Secretary, to promote coordination of efforts to track construction and use of broadband infrastructure.
    • (2) Subgrantees.--
      • (A) Semiannual report.--The recipient of a subgrant from an eligible entity under this section shall submit to the eligible entity a semiannual report for the duration of the subgrant to track the effectiveness of the use of funds provided.
      • (B) Contents.--Each report submitted under subparagraph (A) shall--
        • (i) describe each type of project carried out using the subgrant and the duration of the subgrant;
        • (ii) in the case of a broadband infrastructure project--
          • (I) <> include a list of addresses or locations that constitute the service locations that will be served by the broadband infrastructure to be constructed;
          • (II) identify whether each address or location described in subclause (I) is residential, commercial, or a community anchor institution;
          • (III) describe the types of facilities that have been constructed and installed;
          • (IV) describe the peak and off-peak actual speeds of the broadband service being offered;
          • (V) describe the maximum advertised speed of the broadband service being offered;
          • (VI) describe the non-promotional prices, including any associated fees, charged for different tiers of broadband service being offered;
          • (VII) include any other data that would be required to comply with the data and mapping collection standards of the Commission under section 1.7004 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation, for broadband infrastructure projects; and
          • (VIII) <>  comply with any other reasonable reporting requirements determined by the eligible entity or the Assistant Secretary; and
        • (iii) <> certify that the information in the report is accurate.
    • (3) Standardization and coordination.--The Assistant Secretary and the Commission shall collaborate to--
      • (A) standardize and coordinate reporting of locations at which broadband service was provided using grant funds received under this section in accordance with title VIII of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 641 et seq.); and
      • (B) provide a standardized methodology to recipients of grants and subgrantees under this section for reporting the information described in subparagraph (A).
    • (4) Information on broadband subsidies and low-income plans.--
      • (A) <>  Establishment of website.--Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, shall establish a publicly available website that--
        • (i) allows a consumer to determine, based on financial information entered by the consumer, whether the consumer is eligible--
          • (I) to receive a Federal or State subsidy with respect to broadband service; or
          • (II) for a low-income plan with respect to broadband service; and
        • (ii) contains information regarding how to apply for the applicable benefit described in clause (i).
      • (B) Provision of data.--A Federal entity, State entity receiving Federal funds, or provider of broadband service that offers a subsidy or low-income plan, as applicable, with respect to broadband service shall provide data to the Assistant Secretary in a manner and format as established by the Assistant Secretary as necessary for the Assistant Secretary to carry out subparagraph (A).
  • (k) Relation to Other Public Funding.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law--
    • (1) an entity that has received amounts from the Federal Government or a State or local government for the purpose of expanding access to broadband service may receive a subgrant under subsection (f) in accordance with this section; and
    • (2) the receipt of a subgrant under subsection (f) by an entity described in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not affect the eligibility of the entity to receive the amounts from the Federal Government or a State or local government described in that paragraph.
  • (l) Supplement Not Supplant.--Grant funds awarded to an eligible entity under this section shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, the amounts that the eligible entity would otherwise make available for the purposes for which the grant funds may be used.
  • (m) Sense of Congress Regarding Federal Agency Coordination.--It is the sense of Congress that Federal agencies responsible for supporting broadband deployment, including the Commission, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture, to the extent possible, should align the goals, application and reporting processes, and project requirements with respect to broadband deployment supported by those agencies.
  • (n) Judicial Review.--
    • (1) In general.--The United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have exclusive jurisdiction to review a decision of the Assistant Secretary made under this section.
    • (2) Standard of review.--In carrying out any review described in paragraph (1), the court shall affirm the decision of the Assistant Secretary unless--
      • (A) the decision was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means;
      • (B) there was actual partiality or corruption in the Assistant Secretary; or
      • (C) the Assistant Secretary was guilty of--
        • (i) misconduct in refusing to review the administrative record; or
        • (ii) any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced.
  • (o) Exemption From Certain Laws.--Any action taken or decision made by the Assistant Secretary under this section shall be exempt from the requirements of--
    • (1) section 3506 of title 44, United States Code (commonly referred to as the ``Paperwork Reduction Act'');
    • (2) chapter 5 or 7 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the ``Administrative Procedures Act''); and
    • (3) chapter 6 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the ``Regulatory Flexibility Act'').

 

SEC. 60103. BROADBAND DATA MAPS. 

  • (a) DEFINITION.—In this section, the term ‘‘Commission’’ means the Federal Communications Commission. 
  • (b) PROVISION OF INFORMATION.—A broadband provider shall provide the Commission with any information, in the format, type, or specification requested by the Commission, necessary to augment the collection of data by the Commission under— 
    • (1) title VIII of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 641 et seq.); or 
    • (2) the Form 477 data collection program. (c) NOTICE OF INITIAL BROADBAND DATA COLLECTION FILING DEADLINE.—The Commission— 
      • (1) shall provide notice to broadband providers not later than 60 days before the initial deadline for submission of data under section 802(a)(1)(A) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 642(a)(1)(A)); and 
      • (2) notwithstanding any prior decision of the Commission to the contrary, shall not be required to provide notice not later than 6 months before the initial deadline described in paragraph (1). 
  • (d) AVAILABILITY OF CENSUS DATA.— 
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—Section 802(b)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 802(b)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following: 
      • ‘‘(D) AVAILABILITY OF CENSUS DATA.—The Secretary of Commerce shall submit to the Commission, for inclusion in the Fabric, a count of the aggregate number of housing units in each census block, as collected by the Bureau of the Census.’’. 
    • (2) PROVISION OF UPDATED 2020 CENSUS DATA.—Not later than 30 days after receiving a request from the Commission, the Secretary of Commerce, in implementing the amendment made by paragraph (1), shall provide the Commission with a count of the aggregate number of housing units in each census block, as collected during the 2020 decennial census of population. 
  • (e) PUBLICATION OF BROADBAND DATA MAPS ON INTERNET.— Section 802(c)(6) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 642(c)(6)) is amended, in the matter preceding paragraph (6), by inserting ‘‘, including on a publicly available website,’’ after ‘‘make public’’.

 

SEC. 60104. REPORT ON FUTURE OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND. 

  • (a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section— 
    • (1) the term ‘‘Commission’’ means the Federal Communications Commission; and 
    • (2) the term ‘‘universal service goals for broadband’’ means the statutorily mandated goals of universal service for advanced telecommunications capability under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 1302). 
  • (b) EVALUATION.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall commence a proceeding to evaluate the implications of this Act and the amendments made by this Act on how the Commission should achieve the universal service goals for broadband.
  • (c) REPORT.— 
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to Congress a report on the options of the Commission for improving its effectiveness in achieving the universal service goals for broadband in light of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and other legislation that addresses those goals. 
    • (2) RECOMMENDATIONS.—In the report submitted under paragraph (1), the Commission may make recommendations for Congress on further actions the Commission and Congress could take to improve the ability of the Commission to achieve the universal service goals for broadband. 
    • (3) SCOPE OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE.—In submitting the report under paragraph (1), the Commission— 
      • (A) may not in any way reduce the congressional mandate to achieve the universal service goals for broadband; and 
      • (B) may provide recommendations for Congress to expand the universal service goals for broadband, if the Commission believes such an expansion is in the public interest.

 

SEC. 60105. BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT LOCATIONS MAP. (a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section: 

  • (1) BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE.—The term ‘‘broadband infrastructure’’ means any cables, fiber optics, wiring, or other permanent (integral to the structure) infrastructure, including wireless infrastructure, that— 
    • (A) is capable of providing access to internet connections in individual locations; and 
    • (B) is an advanced telecommunications capability, as defined in section 706(d) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 1302(d)). 
  • (2) COMMISSION.—The term ‘‘Commission’’ means the Federal Communications Commission. 
  • (3) DEPLOYMENT LOCATIONS MAP.—The term ‘‘Deployment Locations Map’’ means the mapping tool required to be established under subsection (b). 
    • (b) ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPLOYMENT LOCATIONS MAP.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall, in consultation with all relevant Federal agencies, establish an online mapping tool to provide a locations overview of the overall geographic footprint of each broadband infrastructure deployment project funded by the Federal Government. 
  • (c) REQUIREMENTS.—The Deployment Locations Map shall be— 
    • (1) the centralized, authoritative source of information on funding made available by the Federal Government for broadband infrastructure deployment in the United States; and 
    • (2) made publicly available on the website of the Commission. 
  • (d) FUNCTIONS.—In establishing the Deployment Locations Map, the Commission shall ensure that the Deployment Locations Map— 
    • (1) compiles data related to Federal funding for broadband infrastructure deployment provided by the Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, and any other Federal agency that provides such data relating to broadband infrastructure deployment funding to the Commission, including funding under—
      • (A) this Act; 
      • (B) the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Public Law 116–136); 
      • (C) the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260); 
      • (D) American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117–2); or 
      • (E) any Federal amounts appropriated or any Federal program authorized after the date of enactment of this Act to fund broadband infrastructure deployment; 
    • (2) contains data, with respect to each broadband infrastructure deployment program, relating to— 
      • (A) the Federal agency of jurisdiction; 
      • (B) the program title; and 
      • (C) the network type, including wired, terrestrial fixed, wireless, mobile, and satellite broadband infrastructure deployment; 
    • (3) allows users to manipulate the Deployment Locations Map to identify, search, and filter broadband infrastructure deployment projects by— 
      • (A) company name; 
      • (B) duration timeline, including the dates of a project’s beginning and ending, or anticipated beginning or ending date; 
      • (C) total number of locations to which a project makes service available; and 
      • (D) relevant download and upload speeds; and 
    • (4) incorporates broadband service availability data as depicted in the Broadband Map created under section 802(c)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 642(c)(1)). (e) PERIODIC UPDATES.— 
      • (1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall, in consultation with relevant Federal agencies, ensure the Deployment Locations Map is maintained and up to date on a periodic basis, but not less frequently than once every 180 days. 
      • (2) OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES.—Each Federal agency providing funding for broadband infrastructure deployment shall report relevant data to the Commission on a periodic basis. 
  • (f) NO EFFECT ON PROGRAMMATIC MISSIONS.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the programmatic missions of Federal agencies providing funding for broadband infrastructure development. 
  • (g) NONDUPLICATION.—The requirements in this section shall be consistent with and avoid duplication with the provisions of section 903 of division FF of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260). 
  • (h) FUNDING.—Of the amounts appropriated to carry out this division under this Act, $10,000,000 shall be made available to carry out this section.

TRIBAL CONNECTIVITY TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS.

SEC. 60201. TRIBAL CONNECTIVITY TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS. 

Section 905 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260) <>  is amended--

  • (1) in subsection (c)--
    • (A) in paragraph (1)(B), by striking ``during the COVID-19 pandemic'';
    • (B) in paragraph (4)--
      • (i) in subparagraph (A)--
        • (I) in clause (i), by striking ``180 days after receiving grant funds'' and inserting ``18 months after receiving an allocation of funds pursuant to a specific grant award''; and
        • (II) in clause (ii), by striking
        • ``revert to the general fund of the Treasury'' and inserting ``be made available to other eligible entities for the purposes provided in this subsection'';
      • (ii) in subparagraph (B)--
        • (I) in clause (i), by striking ``1 year after receiving grant funds'' and inserting ``4 years after receiving an allocation of funds pursuant to a specific grant award'';
        • (II) by redesignating clause (iii) as clause (iv); and
        • (III) by inserting after clause (ii) the following:
      • ``(iii) Extensions for other projects.--The Assistant Secretary may, for good cause shown, extend the period under clause (i) for an eligible entity that proposes to use the grant funds for an eligible use other than construction of broadband infrastructure, based on a detailed showing by the eligible entity of the need for an extension.''; and
        • (iii) by adding at the end the following:
          • ``(C) <> Multiple grant awards.--If the Assistant Secretary awards multiple grants to an eligible entity under this subsection, the deadlines under subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall apply individually to each grant award.''; and
    • (C) by striking paragraph (6) and inserting the following:
  • ``(6) Administrative expenses of eligible entities.--
    • ``(A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph (B), an eligible entity may use not more than 2 percent of grant funds received under this subsection for administrative purposes.
    • ``(B) Broadband infrastructure projects.--An eligible entity that proposes to use grant funds for the construction of broadband infrastructure may use an amount of the grant funds equal to not more than 2.5 percent of the total project cost for planning, feasibility, and sustainability studies related to the project.''; and
  • (2) in subsection (e), by adding at the end the following:
    • ``(6) Additional appropriations for tribal broadband connectivity program.
      • ``(A) Definition.--In this paragraph, the term
      • `initial round of funding'--
        • ``(i) means the allocation under paragraph
      • (2)(E) of funds appropriated under subsection
      • (b)(1); and
        • ``(ii) does not include any reallocation of funds under paragraph (2)(F).
      • ``(B) New funding.--If Congress appropriates additional funds for grants under subsection (c) after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary--
        • ``(i) may use a portion of the funds to fully fund any grants under that subsection for which the Assistant Secretary received an application and which the Assistant Secretary did not fully fund during the initial round of funding; and
        • ``(ii) <>  shall allocate any remaining funds through subsequent funding rounds consistent with the requirements of this section, except as provided in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph.
      • ``(C) <> Exceptions.--If Congress appropriates additional funds for grants under subsection (c) after the date of enactment of this Act--
        • ``(i) the Assistant Secretary shall not be required to issue an additional notice under paragraph (1) of this subsection, but shall inform eligible entities that additional funding has been made available for grants under subsection (c) and describe the changes made to the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program under that subsection by section 60201 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act;
        • ``(ii) the requirement under paragraph (2)(C) of this subsection shall be applied individually to each round of funding for grants under subsection (c);
        • ``(iii) <> paragraph
      • (2)(A) of this subsection shall be applied by substituting `180-day period beginning on the date on which the Assistant Secretary informs eligible entities that additional funding has been made available for grants under subsection (c)' for `90-day period beginning on the date on which the Assistant Secretary issues the notice under paragraph (1)'; and
        • ``(iv) notwithstanding paragraph (2)(F) of this subsection, in the case of funds appropriated under subsection (b)(1) that were not allocated during the initial round of funding, the Assistant Secretary may elect to allocate the funds during any subsequent round of funding for grants under subsection (c).''.

DIGITAL EQUITY ACT OF 2021

SEC. 60301. SHORT TITLE. 

This title may be cited as the ‘‘Digital Equity Act of 2021’’. 

SEC. 60302. DEFINITIONS. 

In this title: 

  • (1) ADOPTION OF BROADBAND.—The term ‘‘adoption of broadband’’ means the process by which an individual obtains daily access to the internet—
    • (A) at a speed, quality, and capacity—
      • (i) that is necessary for the individual to accomplish common tasks; and
      • (ii) such that the access qualifies as an advanced telecommunications capability;
    • (B) with the digital skills that are necessary for the individual to participate online; and
    • (C) on a—
      • (i) personal device; and
      • (ii) secure and convenient network.
  • (2) ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITY.—The term ‘‘advanced telecommunications capability’’ has the meaning given the term in section 706(d) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 1302(d)).
  • (3) AGING INDIVIDUAL.—The term ‘‘aging individual’’ has the meaning given the term ‘‘older individual’’ in section 102 of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3002).
  • (4) APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS.—The term ‘‘appropriate committees of Congress’’ means—
    • (A) the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate;
    • (B) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;
    • (C) the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and
    • (D) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.
  • (5) ASSISTANT SECRETARY.—The term ‘‘Assistant Secretary’’ means the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information.
  • (6) COMMUNITY ANCHOR INSTITUTION.—The term ‘‘community anchor institution’’ means a public school, a public or multi-family housing authority, a library, a medical or healthcare provider, a community college or other institution of higher education, a State library agency, and any other nonprofit or governmental community support organization.
  • (7) COVERED HOUSEHOLD.—The term ‘‘covered household’’ means a household, the income of which for the most recently completed year is not more than 150 percent of an amount equal to the poverty level, as determined by using criteria of poverty established by the Bureau of the Census.
  • (8) COVERED POPULATIONS.—The term ‘‘covered populations’’ means—
    • (A) individuals who live in covered households;
    • (B) aging individuals;
    • (C) incarcerated individuals, other than individuals who are incarcerated in a Federal correctional facility;
    • (D) veterans;
    • (E) individuals with disabilities;
    • (F) individuals with a language barrier, including individuals who—
      • (i) are English learners; and
      • (ii) have low levels of literacy;
    • (G) individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group; and
    • (H) individuals who primarily reside in a rural area.
  • (9) COVERED PROGRAMS.—The term ‘‘covered programs’’ means the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program established under section 60304 and the Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program established under section 60305.
  • (10) DIGITAL EQUITY.—The term ‘‘digital equity’’ means the condition in which individuals and communities have the information technology capacity that is needed for full participation in the society and economy of the United States.
  • (11) DIGITAL INCLUSION.—The term ‘‘digital inclusion’’—
    • (A) means the activities that are necessary to ensure that all individuals in the United States have access to, and the use of, affordable information and communication technologies, such as—
      • (i) reliable fixed and wireless broadband internet service;
      • (ii) internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user; and
      • (iii) applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation, and collaboration; and
    • (B) includes—
      • (i) obtaining access to digital literacy training;
      • (ii) the provision of quality technical support; and
      • (iii) obtaining basic awareness of measures to ensure online privacy and cybersecurity.
  • (12) DIGITAL LITERACY.—The term ‘‘digital literacy’’ means the skills associated with using technology to enable users to find, evaluate, organize, create, and communicate information.
  • (13) DISABILITY.—The term ‘‘disability’’ has the meaning given the term in section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102).
  • (14) ELIGIBLE STATE.—The term ‘‘eligible State’’ means—
    • (A) with respect to planning grants made available under section 60304(c)(3), a State with respect to which the Assistant Secretary has approved an application submitted to the Assistant Secretary under section 60304(c)(3)(C); and
    • (B) with respect to capacity grants awarded under section 60304(d), a State with respect to which the Assistant Secretary has approved an application submitted to the Assistant Secretary under section 60304(d)(2), including approval of the State Digital Equity Plan developed by the State under section 60304(c).
  • (15) GENDER IDENTITY.—The term ‘‘gender identity’’ has the meaning given the term in section 249(c) of title 18, United States Code.
  • (16) INDIAN TRIBE.—The term ‘‘Indian Tribe’’ has the meaning given the term in section 4(e) of the Indian SelfDetermination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304(e)).
  • (17) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.—The term ‘‘institution of higher education’’—
    • (A) has the meaning given the term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001); and
    • (B) includes a postsecondary vocational institution.
  • (18) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY.—The term ‘‘local educational agency’’ has the meaning given the term in section 8101(30) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801(30)).
  • (19) POSTSECONDARY VOCATIONAL INSTITUTION.—The term ‘‘postsecondary vocational institution’’ has the meaning given the term in section 102(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002(c)).
  • (20) RURAL AREA.—The term ‘‘rural area’’ has the meaning given the term in section 601(b)(3) of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 950bb(b)(3)).
  • (21) STATE.—The term ‘‘State’’ means—
    • (A) any State of the United States;
    • (B) the District of Columbia; and
    • (C) the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • (22) VETERAN.—The term ‘‘veteran’’ has the meaning given the term in section 101 of title 38, United States Code.
  • (23) WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.—The term ‘‘workforce development program’’ has the meaning given the term in section 3(66) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3102(66)).

 

SEC. 60303. SENSE OF CONGRESS. 

It is the sense of Congress that— 

  • (1) a broadband connection and digital literacy are increasingly critical to how individuals—
    • (A) participate in the society, economy, and civic institutions of the United States; and
    • (B) access health care and essential services, obtain education, and build careers;
  • (2) digital exclusion—
    • (A) carries a high societal and economic cost;
    • (B) materially harms the opportunity of an individual with respect to the economic success, educational achievement, positive health outcomes, social inclusion, and civic engagement of that individual; and
    • (C) exacerbates existing wealth and income gaps, especially those experienced by covered populations;
  • (3) achieving digital equity for all people of the United States requires additional and sustained investment and research efforts;
  • (4) the Federal Government, as well as State, tribal, territorial, and local governments, have made social, legal, and economic obligations that necessarily extend to how the citizens and residents of those governments access and use the internet; and
  • (5) achieving digital equity is a matter of social and economic justice and is worth pursuing.

 

SEC. 60304. STATE DIGITAL EQUITY CAPACITY GRANT PROGRAM. 

  • (a) ESTABLISHMENT; PURPOSE.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—The Assistant Secretary shall establish in the Department of Commerce the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program (referred to in this section as the ‘‘Program’’)—
      • (A) the purpose of which is to promote the achievement of digital equity, support digital inclusion activities, and build capacity for efforts by States relating to the adoption of broadband by residents of those States;
      • (B) through which the Assistant Secretary shall make grants to States in accordance with the requirements of this section; and
      • (C) which shall ensure that States have the capacity to promote the achievement of digital equity and support digital inclusion activities.
    • (2) CONSULTATION WITH OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES; NO CONFLICT.—In establishing the Program under paragraph (1), the Assistant Secretary shall—
      • (A) consult with—
        • (i) the Secretary of Agriculture;
        • (ii) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
        • (iii) the Secretary of Education;
        • (iv) the Secretary of Labor;
        • (v) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
        • (vi) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
        • (vii) the Secretary of the Interior;
        • (viii) the Federal Communications Commission;
        • (ix) the Federal Trade Commission;
        • (x) the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services;
        • (xi) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
        • (xii) the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission; and
        • (xiii) the head of any other agency that the Assistant Secretary determines to be appropriate; and
      • (B) ensure that the Program complements and enhances, and does not conflict with, other Federal broadband initiatives and programs.
  • (b) ADMINISTERING ENTITY.—
    • (1) SELECTION; FUNCTION.—The governor (or equivalent official) of a State that wishes to be awarded a grant under this section shall, from among entities that are eligible under paragraph (2), select an administering entity for that State, which shall—
      • (A) serve as the recipient of, and administering agent for, any grant awarded to the State under this section;
      • (B) develop, implement, and oversee the State Digital Equity Plan for the State described in subsection (c);
      • (C) make subgrants to any entity described in subsection (c)(1)(D) that is located in the State in support of—
        • (i) the State Digital Equity Plan for the State; and
        • (ii) digital inclusion activities in the State generally; and
      • (D) serve as—
        • (i) an advocate for digital equity policy and digital inclusion activities; and
        • (ii) a repository of best practice materials regarding the policies and activities described in clause (i).
    • (2) ELIGIBLE ENTITIES.—Any of the following entities may serve as the administering entity for a State for the purposes of this section if the entity has demonstrated a capacity to administer the Program on a statewide level:
      • (A) The State, a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the State, an Indian Tribe located in the State, an Alaska Native entity located in the State, or a Native Hawaiian organization located in the State.
      • (B) A foundation, corporation, institution, association, or coalition that is—
        • (i) a not-for-profit entity;
        • (ii) providing services in the State; and
        • (iii) not a school.
    • (C) A community anchor institution, other than a school, that is located in the State.
    • (D) A local educational agency that is located in the State.
    • (E) An entity located in the State that carries out a workforce development program.
    • (F) An agency of the State that is responsible for administering or supervising adult education and literacy activities in the State.
    • (G) A public or multi-family housing authority that is located in the State.
    • (H) A partnership between any of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (G).
  • (c) STATE DIGITAL EQUITY PLAN.—
    • (1) DEVELOPMENT; CONTENTS.—A State that wishes to be awarded a grant under subsection (d) shall develop a State Digital Equity Plan for the State, which shall include—
      • (A) the identification of the barriers to digital equity faced by covered populations in the State;
      • (B) measurable objectives for documenting and promoting, among each group described in subparagraphs (A) through (H) of section 60302(8) located in that State—
        • (i) the availability of, and affordability of access to, fixed and wireless broadband technology;
        • (ii) the online accessibility and inclusivity of public resources and services;
        • (iii) digital literacy;
        • (iv) awareness of, and the use of, measures to secure the online privacy of, and cybersecurity with respect to, an individual; and
        • (v) the availability and affordability of consumer devices and technical support for those devices;
      • (C) an assessment of how the objectives described in subparagraph (B) will impact and interact with the State’s—
        • (i) economic and workforce development goals, plans, and outcomes;
        • (ii) educational outcomes;
        • (iii) health outcomes;
        • (iv) civic and social engagement; and
        • (v) delivery of other essential services;
      • (D) in order to achieve the objectives described in subparagraph (B), a description of how the State plans to collaborate with key stakeholders in the State, which may include—
        • (i) community anchor institutions;
        • (ii) county and municipal governments;
        • (iii) local educational agencies;
        • (iv) where applicable, Indian Tribes, Alaska Native entities, or Native Hawaiian organizations;
        • (v) nonprofit organizations;
        • (vi) organizations that represent—
          • (I) individuals with disabilities, including organizations that represent children with disabilities;
          • (II) aging individuals;
          • (III) individuals with language barriers, including—
            • (aa) individuals who are English learners; and
            • (bb) individuals who have low levels of literacy;
          • (IV) veterans; and
          • (V) individuals in that State who are incarcerated in facilities other than Federal correctional facilities;
        • (vii) civil rights organizations;
        • (viii) entities that carry out workforce development programs;
        • (ix) agencies of the State that are responsible for administering or supervising adult education and literacy activities in the State;
        • (x) public housing authorities in the State; and
        • (xi) a partnership between any of the entities described in clauses (i) through (x); and
      • (E) a list of organizations with which the administering entity for the State collaborated in developing and implementing the Plan.
    • (2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—
      • (A) IN GENERAL.—The administering entity for a State shall make the State Digital Equity Plan of the State available for public comment for a period of not less than 30 days before the date on which the State submits an application to the Assistant Secretary under subsection (d)(2).
      • (B) CONSIDERATION OF COMMENTS RECEIVED.—The administering entity for a State shall, with respect to an application submitted to the Assistant Secretary under subsection (d)(2)—
        • (i) before submitting the application—
          • (I) consider all comments received during the comment period described in subparagraph (A) with respect to the application (referred to in this subparagraph as the ‘‘comment period’’); and
          • (II) make any changes to the plan that the administering entity determines to be worthwhile; and
        • (ii) when submitting the application—
          • (I) describe any changes pursued by the administering entity in response to comments received during the comment period; and
        • (II) include a written response to each comment received during the comment period.
    • (3) PLANNING GRANTS.—
      • (A) IN GENERAL.—Beginning in the first fiscal year that begins after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall, in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph, award planning grants to States for the purpose of developing the State Digital Equity Plans of those States under this subsection.
      • (B) ELIGIBILITY.—In order to be awarded a planning grant under this paragraph, a State—
        • (i) shall submit to the Assistant Secretary an application under subparagraph (C); and
        • (ii) may not have been awarded, at any time, a planning grant under this paragraph.
      • (C) APPLICATION.—A State that wishes to be awarded a planning grant under this paragraph shall, not later than 60 days after the date on which the notice of funding availability with respect to the grant is released, submit to the Assistant Secretary an application, in a format to be determined by the Assistant Secretary, that contains the following materials:
        • (i) A description of the entity selected to serve as the administering entity for the State, as described in subsection (b).
        • (ii) A certification from the State that, not later than 1 year after the date on which the Assistant Secretary awards the planning grant to the State, the administering entity for that State shall develop a State Digital Equity Plan under this subsection, which—
          • (I) the administering entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary; and
          • (II) shall comply with the requirements of this subsection, including the requirement under paragraph (2)(B).
        • (iii) The assurances required under subsection (e).
      • (D) AWARDS.—
        • (i) AMOUNT OF GRANT.—A planning grant awarded to an eligible State under this paragraph shall be determined according to the formula under subsection (d)(3)(A)(i).
        • (ii) DURATION.—
          • (I) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subclause (II), with respect to a planning grant awarded to an eligible State under this paragraph, the State shall expend the grant funds during the 1-year period beginning on the date on which the State is awarded the grant funds.
          • (II) EXCEPTION.—The Assistant Secretary may grant an extension of not longer than 180 days with respect to the requirement under subclause (I).
        • (iii) CHALLENGE MECHANISM.—The Assistant Secretary shall ensure that any eligible State to which a planning grant is awarded under this paragraph may appeal or otherwise challenge in a timely fashion the amount of the grant awarded to the State, as determined under clause (i).
      • (E) USE OF FUNDS.—An eligible State to which a planning grant is awarded under this paragraph shall, through the administering entity for that State, use the grant funds only for the following purposes:
      • (i) To develop the State Digital Equity Plan of the State under this subsection.
      • (ii)
        • (I) Subject to subclause (II), to make subgrants to any of the entities described in paragraph (1)(D) to assist in the development of the State Digital Equity Plan of the State under this subsection.
        • (II) If the administering entity for a State makes a subgrant described in subclause (I), the administering entity shall, with respect to the subgrant, provide to the State the assurances required under subsection (e).
  • (d) STATE CAPACITY GRANTS.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—Beginning not later than 2 years after the date on which the Assistant Secretary begins awarding planning grants under subsection (c)(3), the Assistant Secretary shall each year award grants to eligible States to support—
      • (A) the implementation of the State Digital Equity Plans of those States; and
      • (B) digital inclusion activities in those States.
    • (2) APPLICATION.—A State that wishes to be awarded a grant under this subsection shall, not later than 60 days after the date on which the notice of funding availability with respect to the grant is released, submit to the Assistant Secretary an application, in a format to be determined by the Assistant Secretary, that contains the following materials:
      • (A) A description of the entity selected to serve as the administering entity for the State, as described in subsection (b).
      • (B) The State Digital Equity Plan of that State, as described in subsection (c).
      • (C) A certification that the State, acting through the administering entity for the State, shall— (i) implement the State Digital Equity Plan of the State; and (ii) make grants in a manner that is consistent with the aims of the Plan described in clause (i).
      • (D) The assurances required under subsection (e).
      • (E) In the case of a State to which the Assistant Secretary has previously awarded a grant under this subsection, any amendments to the State Digital Equity Plan of that State, as compared with the State Digital Equity Plan of the State previously submitted.
    • (3) AWARDS.—
      • (A) AMOUNT OF GRANT.—
        • (i) FORMULA.—Subject to clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv), the Assistant Secretary shall calculate the amount of a grant awarded to an eligible State under this subsection in accordance with the following criteria, using the best available data for all States for the fiscal year in which the grant is awarded:
          • (I) 50 percent of the total grant amount shall be based on the population of the eligible State in proportion to the total population of all eligible States.
          • (II) 25 percent of the total grant amount shall be based on the number of individuals in the eligible State who are members of covered populations in proportion to the total number of individuals in all eligible States who are members of covered populations.
          • (III) 25 percent of the total grant amount shall be based on the comparative lack of availability and adoption of broadband in the eligible State in proportion to the lack of availability and adoption of broadband of all eligible States, which shall be determined according to data collected from—
            • (aa) the annual inquiry of the Federal Communications Commission conducted under section 706(b) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 1302(b));
            • (bb) the American Community Survey or, if necessary, other data collected by the Bureau of the Census;
            • (cc) the NTIA Internet Use Survey, which is administered as the Computer and Internet Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey of the Bureau of the Census; and
            • (dd) any other source that the Assistant Secretary, after appropriate notice and opportunity for public comment, determines to be appropriate.
        • (ii) MINIMUM AWARD.—The amount of a grant awarded to an eligible State under this subsection in a fiscal year shall be not less than 0.5 percent of the total amount made available to award grants to eligible States for that fiscal year.
        • (iii) ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS.—If, after awarding planning grants to States under subsection (c)(3) and capacity grants to eligible States under this subsection in a fiscal year, there are amounts remaining to carry out this section, the Assistant Secretary shall distribute those amounts—
          • (I) to eligible States to which the Assistant Secretary has awarded grants under this subsection for that fiscal year; and
          • (II) in accordance with the formula described in clause (i).
        • (iv) DATA UNAVAILABLE.—If, in a fiscal year, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (referred to in this clause as ‘‘Puerto Rico’’) is an eligible State and specific data for Puerto Rico is unavailable for a factor described in subclause (I), (II), or (II) of clause (i), the Assistant Secretary shall use the median data point with respect to that factor among all eligible States and assign it to Puerto Rico for the purposes of making any calculation under that clause for that fiscal year.
      • (B) DURATION.—With respect to a grant awarded to an eligible State under this subsection, the eligible State shall expend the grant funds during the 5-year period beginning on the date on which the eligible State is awarded the grant funds.
      • (C) CHALLENGE MECHANISM.—The Assistant Secretary shall ensure that any eligible State to which a grant is awarded under this subsection may appeal or otherwise challenge in a timely fashion the amount of the grant awarded to the State, as determined under subparagraph (A).
      • (D) USE OF FUNDS.—The administering entity for an eligible State to which a grant is awarded under this subsection shall use the grant amounts for the following purposes:
        • (i)
          • (I) Subject to subclause (II), to update or maintain the State Digital Equity Plan of the State.
          • (II) An administering entity for an eligible State to which a grant is awarded under this subsection may use not more than 20 percent of the amount of the grant for the purpose described in subclause (I).
        • (ii) To implement the State Digital Equity Plan of the State.
        • (iii)
          • (I) Subject to subclause (II), to award a grant to any entity that is described in section 60305(b) and is located in the eligible State in order to—
            • (aa) assist in the implementation of the State Digital Equity Plan of the State;
            • (bb) pursue digital inclusion activities in the State consistent with the State Digital Equity Plan of the State; and
            • (cc) report to the State regarding the digital inclusion activities of the entity.
          • (II) Before an administering entity for an eligible State may award a grant under subclause (I), the administering entity shall require the entity to which the grant is awarded to certify that—
            • (aa) the entity shall carry out the activities required under items (aa), (bb), and (cc) of that subclause;
            • (bb) the receipt of the grant shall not result in unjust enrichment of the entity; and
            • (cc) the entity shall cooperate with any evaluation—
              • (AA) of any program that relates to a grant awarded to the entity; and
              • (BB) that is carried out by or for the administering entity, the Assistant Secretary, or another Federal official.
        • (iv)(I) Subject to subclause (II), to evaluate the efficacy of the efforts funded by grants made under clause (iii).
          • (II) An administering entity for an eligible State to which a grant is awarded under this subsection may use not more than 5 percent of the amount of the grant for a purpose described in subclause (I).
        • (v)
          • (I) Subject to subclause (II), for the administrative costs incurred in carrying out the activities described in clauses (i) through (iv).
          • (II) An administering entity for an eligible State to which a grant is awarded under this subsection may use not more than 3 percent of the amount of the grant for a purpose described in subclause (I).
  • (e) ASSURANCES.—When applying for a grant under this section, a State shall include in the application for that grant assurances that—
    • (1) if an entity described in section 60305(b) is awarded grant funds under this section (referred to in this subsection as a ‘‘covered recipient’’), provide that—
      • (A) the covered recipient shall use the grant funds in accordance with any applicable statute, regulation, and application procedure;
      • (B) the administering entity for that State shall adopt and use proper methods of administering any grant that the covered recipient is awarded, including by—
        • (i) enforcing any obligation imposed under law on any agency, institution, organization, or other entity that is responsible for carrying out the program to which the grant relates;
        • (ii) correcting any deficiency in the operation of a program to which the grant relates, as identified through an audit or another monitoring or evaluation procedure; and
        • (iii) adopting written procedures for the receipt and resolution of complaints alleging a violation of law with respect to a program to which the grant relates; and
      • (C) the administering entity for that State shall cooperate in carrying out any evaluation—
        • (i) of any program that relates to a grant awarded to the covered recipient; and
        • (ii) that is carried out by or for the Assistant Secretary or another Federal official;
    • (2) the administering entity for that State shall—
    • (A) use fiscal control and fund accounting procedures that ensure the proper disbursement of, and accounting for, any Federal funds that the State is awarded under this section;
    • (B) submit to the Assistant Secretary any reports that may be necessary to enable the Assistant Secretary to perform the duties of the Assistant Secretary under this section;
    • (C) maintain any records and provide any information to the Assistant Secretary, including those records, that the Assistant Secretary determines is necessary to enable the Assistant Secretary to perform the duties of the Assistant Secretary under this section; and
    • (D) with respect to any significant proposed change or amendment to the State Digital Equity Plan for the State, make the change or amendment available for public comment in accordance with subsection (c)(2); and (3) the State, before submitting to the Assistant Secretary the State Digital Equity Plan of the State, has complied with the requirements of subsection (c)(2).
  • (f) TERMINATION OF GRANT.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—The Assistant Secretary shall terminate a grant awarded to an eligible State under this section if, after notice to the State and opportunity for a hearing, the Assistant Secretary—
      • (A) presents to the State a rationale and supporting information that clearly demonstrates that—
        • (i) the grant funds are not contributing to the development or execution of the State Digital Equity Plan of the State, as applicable; and
        • (ii) the State is not upholding assurances made by the State to the Assistant Secretary under subsection (e); and
      • (B) determines that the grant is no longer necessary to achieve the original purpose for which Assistant Secretary awarded the grant.
        • (2) REDISTRIBUTION.—If the Assistant Secretary, in a fiscal year, terminates a grant under paragraph (1), the Assistant Secretary shall redistribute the unspent grant amounts—
      • (A) to eligible States to which the Assistant Secretary has awarded grants under subsection (d) for that fiscal year; and
      • (B) in accordance with the formula described in subsection (d)(3)(A)(i).
  • (g) REPORTING AND INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS; INTERNET DISCLOSURE.—The Assistant Secretary—
    • (1) shall—
      • (A) require any entity to which a grant, including a subgrant, is awarded under this section to publicly report, for each year during the period described in subsection (c)(3)(D)(ii) or (d)(3)(B), as applicable, with respect to the grant, and in a format specified by the Assistant Secretary, on—
        • (i) the use of that grant by the entity;
        • (ii) the progress of the entity towards fulfilling the objectives for which the grant was awarded; and
        • (iii) the implementation of the State Digital Equity Plan of the State;
      • (B) establish appropriate mechanisms to ensure that each eligible State to which a grant is awarded under this section—
        • (i) uses the grant amounts in an appropriate manner; and
        • (ii) complies with all terms with respect to the use of the grant amounts; and
      • (C) create and maintain a fully searchable database, which shall be accessible on the internet at no cost to the public, that contains, at a minimum—
        • (i) the application of each State that has applied for a grant under this section;
        • (ii) the status of each application described in clause (i);
        • (iii) each report submitted by an entity under subparagraph (A);
        • (iv) a record of public comments made regarding the State Digital Equity Plan of a State, as well as any written responses to or actions taken as a result of those comments; and
        • (v) any other information that is sufficient to allow the public to understand and monitor grants awarded under this section; and
    • (2) may establish additional reporting and information requirements for any recipient of a grant under this section. (h) SUPPLEMENT NOT SUPPLANT.—A grant or subgrant awarded under this section shall supplement, not supplant, other Federal or State funds that have been made available to carry out activities described in this section.
  • (i) SET ASIDES.—From amounts made available in a fiscal year to carry out the Program, the Assistant Secretary shall reserve—
    • (1) not more than 5 percent for the implementation and administration of the Program, which shall include—
      • (A) providing technical support and assistance, including ensuring consistency in data reporting;
      • (B) providing assistance to— (i) States, or administering entities for States, to prepare the applications of those States; and (ii) administering entities with respect to grants awarded under this section; and
      • (C) developing the report required under section 60306(a);
    • (2) not less than 5 percent to award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, Indian Tribes, Alaska Native entities, and Native Hawaiian organizations to allow those tribes, entities, and organizations to carry out the activities described in this section; and
    • (3) not less than 1 percent to award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States that is not a State to enable those entities to carry out the activities described in this section.
  • (j) RULES.—The Assistant Secretary may prescribe such rules as may be necessary to carry out this section.
  • (k) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated—
    • (1) $60,000,000 for the award of grants under subsection (c)(3), which shall remain available until expended;
    • (2) for the award of grants under subsection (d)—
      • (A) $240,000,000 for fiscal year 2022; and
      • (B) $300,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2026; and
  • (3) such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section for each fiscal year after the end of the 5-fiscal year period described in paragraph (2).

 

SEC. 60305. DIGITAL EQUITY COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAM. 

  • (a) ESTABLISHMENT.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Assistant Secretary begins awarding grants under section 60304(d), and not before that date, the Assistant Secretary shall establish in the Department of Commerce the Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program (referred to in this section as the ‘‘Program’’), the purpose of which is to award grants to support efforts to achieve digital equity, promote digital inclusion activities, and spur greater adoption of broadband among covered populations.
    • (2) CONSULTATION; NO CONFLICT.—In establishing the Program under paragraph (1), the Assistant Secretary—
      • (A) may consult a State with respect to—
        • (i) the identification of groups described in subparagraphs (A) through (H) of section 60302(8) located in that State; and
        • (ii) the allocation of grant funds within that State for projects in or affecting the State; and (B) shall—
          • (i) consult with—
            • (I) the Secretary of Agriculture;
            • (II) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
            • (III) the Secretary of Education;
            • (IV) the Secretary of Labor;
            • (V) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
            • (VI) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
            • (VII) the Secretary of the Interior;
            • (VIII) the Federal Communications Commission;
            • (IX) the Federal Trade Commission;
            • (X) the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services;
            • (XI) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
            • (XII) the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission; and
            • (XIII) the head of any other agency that the Assistant Secretary determines to be appropriate; and
          • (ii) ensure that the Program complements and enhances, and does not conflict with, other Federal broadband initiatives and programs.
  • (b) ELIGIBILITY.—The Assistant Secretary may award a grant under the Program to any of the following entities if the entity is not serving, and has not served, as the administering entity for a State under section 60304(b):
    • (1) A political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of a State, including an agency of a State that is responsible for administering or supervising adult education and literacy activities, or for providing public housing, in the State.
    • (2) An Indian Tribe, an Alaska Native entity, or a Native Hawaiian organization.
    • (3) A foundation, corporation, institution, or association that is— (A) a not-for-profit entity; and (B) not a school.
    • (4) A community anchor institution.
    • (5) A local educational agency.
    • (6) An entity that carries out a workforce development program.
    • (7) A partnership between any of the entities described in paragraphs (1) through (6).
    • (8) A partnership between—
      • (A) an entity described in any of paragraphs (1) through (6); and (B) an entity that— (i) the Assistant Secretary, by rule, determines to be in the public interest; and (ii) is not a school. (c) APPLICATION.—An entity that wishes to be awarded a grant under the Program shall submit to the Assistant Secretary an application—
        • (1) at such time, in such form, and containing such information as the Assistant Secretary may require; and
        • (2) that—
          • (A) provides a detailed explanation of how the entity will use any grant amounts awarded under the Program to carry out the purposes of the Program in an efficient and expeditious manner;
          • (B) identifies the period in which the applicant will expend the grant funds awarded under the Program;
          • (C) includes—
            • (i) a justification for the amount of the grant that the applicant is requesting; and
            • (ii) for each fiscal year in which the applicant will expend the grant funds, a budget for the activities that the grant funds will support;
          • (D) demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Assistant Secretary that the entity—
            • (i) is capable of carrying out—
              • (I) the project or function to which the application relates; and
              • (II) the activities described in subsection (h)—
                • (aa) in a competent manner; and
                • (bb) in compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws; and
            • (ii) if the applicant is an entity described in subsection (b)(1), shall appropriate or otherwise unconditionally obligate from non-Federal sources funds that are necessary to meet the requirements of subsection (e);
          • (E) discloses to the Assistant Secretary the source and amount of other Federal, State, or outside funding sources from which the entity receives, or has applied for, funding for activities or projects to which the application relates; and
          • (F) provides—
            • (i) the assurances that are required under subsection (f); and
            • (ii) an assurance that the entity shall follow such additional procedures as the Assistant Secretary may require to ensure that grant funds are used and accounted for in an appropriate manner.
  • (d) AWARD OF GRANTS.—
    • (1) FACTORS CONSIDERED IN AWARD OF GRANTS.—In deciding whether to award a grant under the Program, the Assistant Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, consider—
      • (A) whether an application shall, if approved—
        • (i) increase internet access and the adoption of broadband among covered populations to be served by the applicant; and
        • (ii) not result in unjust enrichment;
      • (B) the comparative geographic diversity of the application in relation to other eligible applications; and
      • (C) the extent to which an application may duplicate or conflict with another program.
    • (2) USE OF FUNDS.—
      • (A) IN GENERAL.—In addition to the activities required under subparagraph (B), an entity to which the Assistant Secretary awards a grant under the Program shall use the grant amounts to support not less than 1 of the following activities:
        • (i) To develop and implement digital inclusion activities that benefit covered populations.
        • (ii) To facilitate the adoption of broadband by covered populations in order to provide educational and employment opportunities to those populations.
        • (iii) To implement, consistent with the purposes of this title—
          • (I) training programs for covered populations that cover basic, advanced, and applied skills; or
          • (II) other workforce development programs.
        • (iv) To make available equipment, instrumentation, networking capability, hardware and software, or digital network technology for broadband services to covered populations at low or no cost.
        • (v) To construct, upgrade, expend, or operate new or existing public access computing centers for covered populations through community anchor institutions.
        • (vi) To undertake any other project and activity that the Assistant Secretary finds to be consistent with the purposes for which the Program is established.
      • (B) EVALUATION.—
        • (i) IN GENERAL.—An entity to which the Assistant Secretary awards a grant under the Program shall use not more than 10 percent of the grant amounts to measure and evaluate the activities supported with the grant amounts.
        • (ii) SUBMISSION TO ASSISTANT SECRETARY.—An entity to which the Assistant Secretary awards a grant under the Program shall submit to the Assistant Secretary each measurement and evaluation performed under clause (i)—
          • (I) in a manner specified by the Assistant Secretary;
          • (II) not later than 15 months after the date on which the entity is awarded the grant amounts; and
          • (III) annually after the submission described in subclause (II) for any year in which the entity expends grant amounts.
      • (C) ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.—An entity to which the Assistant Secretary awards a grant under the Program may use not more than 10 percent of the amount of the grant for administrative costs in carrying out any of the activities described in subparagraph (A).
      • (D) TIME LIMITATIONS.—With respect to a grant awarded to an entity under the Program, the entity—
        • (i) except as provided in clause (ii), shall expend the grant amounts during the 4-year period beginning on the date on which the entity is awarded the grant amounts; and
        • (ii) during the 1-year period beginning on the date that is 4 years after the date on which the entity is awarded the grant amounts, may continue to measure and evaluate the activities supported with the grant amounts, as required under subparagraph (B).
  • (e) FEDERAL SHARE.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Federal share of any project for which the Assistant Secretary awards a grant under the Program may not exceed 90 percent. (2) EXCEPTION.—The Assistant Secretary may grant a waiver with respect to the limitation on the Federal share of a project described in paragraph (1) if—
      • (A) the applicant with respect to the project petitions the Assistant Secretary for the waiver; and
      • (B) the Assistant Secretary determines that the petition described in subparagraph (A) demonstrates financial need.
  • (f) ASSURANCES.—When applying for a grant under this section, an entity shall include in the application for that grant assurances that the entity shall—
    • (1) use any grant funds that the entity is awarded—
      • (A) in accordance with any applicable statute, regulation, and application procedure; and
      • (B) to the extent required under applicable law;
    • (2) adopt and use proper methods of administering any grant that the entity is awarded, including by—
      • (A) enforcing any obligation imposed under law on any agency, institution, organization, or other entity that is responsible for carrying out a program to which the grant relates;
      • (B) correcting any deficiency in the operation of a program to which the grant relates, as identified through an audit or another monitoring or evaluation procedure; and
      • (C) adopting written procedures for the receipt and resolution of complaints alleging a violation of law with respect to a program to which the grant relates;
    • (3) cooperate with respect to any evaluation—
      • (A) of any program that relates to a grant awarded to the entity; and
      • (B) that is carried out by or for the Assistant Secretary or another Federal official;
    • (4) use fiscal control and fund accounting procedures that ensure the proper disbursement of, and accounting for, any Federal funds that the entity is awarded under the Program;
    • (5) submit to the Assistant Secretary any reports that may be necessary to enable the Assistant Secretary to perform the duties of the Assistant Secretary under the Program; and
    • (6) maintain any records and provide any information to the Assistant Secretary, including those records, that the Assistant Secretary determines is necessary to enable the Assistant Secretary to perform the duties of the Assistant Secretary under the Program.
  • (g) DEOBLIGATION OR TERMINATION OF GRANT.—In addition to other authority under applicable law, the Assistant Secretary may—
    • (1) deobligate or terminate a grant awarded to an entity under this section if, after notice to the entity and opportunity for a hearing, the Assistant Secretary—
      • (A) presents to the entity a rationale and supporting information that clearly demonstrates that—
        • (i) the grant funds are not being used in a manner that is consistent with the application with respect to the grant submitted by the entity under subsection (c); and
        • (ii) the entity is not upholding assurances made by the entity to the Assistant Secretary under subsection (f); and
      • (B) determines that the grant is no longer necessary to achieve the original purpose for which Assistant Secretary awarded the grant; and
        • (2) with respect to any grant funds that the Assistant Secretary deobligates or terminates under paragraph (1), competitively award the grant funds to another applicant, consistent with the requirements of this section.
  • (h) REPORTING AND INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS; INTERNET DISCLOSURE.—The Assistant Secretary—
    • (1) shall—
      • (A) require any entity to which the Assistant Secretary awards a grant under the Program to, for each year during the period described in subsection (d)(2)(D) with respect to the grant, submit to the Assistant Secretary a report, in a format specified by the Assistant Secretary, regarding—
        • (i) the amount of the grant;
        • (ii) the use by the entity of the grant amounts; and
        • (iii) the progress of the entity towards fulfilling the objectives for which the grant was awarded;
      • (B) establish mechanisms to ensure appropriate use of, and compliance with respect to all terms regarding, grant funds awarded under the Program;
      • (C) create and maintain a fully searchable database, which shall be accessible on the internet at no cost to the public, that contains, at a minimum—
        • (i) a list of each entity that has applied for a grant under the Program;
        • (ii) a description of each application described in clause (i), including the proposed purpose of each grant described in that clause;
        • (iii) the status of each application described in clause (i), including whether the Assistant Secretary has awarded a grant with respect to the application and, if so, the amount of the grant;
        • (iv) each report submitted by an entity under subparagraph (A); and
        • (v) any other information that is sufficient to allow the public to understand and monitor grants awarded under the Program; and
      • (D) ensure that any entity with respect to which an award is deobligated or terminated under subsection (g) may, in a timely manner, appeal or otherwise challenge that deobligation or termination, as applicable; and
    • (2) may establish additional reporting and information requirements for any recipient of a grant under the Program.
  • (i) SUPPLEMENT NOT SUPPLANT.—A grant awarded to an entity under the Program shall supplement, not supplant, other Federal or State funds that have been made available to the entity to carry out activities described in this section.
  • (j) SET ASIDES.—From amounts made available in a fiscal year to carry out the Program, the Assistant Secretary shall reserve—
    • (1) 5 percent for the implementation and administration of the Program, which shall include—
      • (A) providing technical support and assistance, including ensuring consistency in data reporting;
      • (B) providing assistance to entities to prepare the applications of those entities with respect to grants awarded under this section;
      • (C) developing the report required under section 60306(a); and
      • (D) conducting outreach to entities that may be eligible to be awarded a grant under the Program regarding opportunities to apply for such a grant;
    • (2) 5 percent to award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, Indian Tribes, Alaska Native entities, and Native Hawaiian organizations to allow those tribes, entities, and organizations to carry out the activities described in this section; and
    • (3) 1 percent to award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States that is not a State to enable those entities to carry out the activities described in this section.
  • (k) RULES.—The Assistant Secretary may prescribe such rules as may be necessary to carry out this section.
  • (l) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section—
    • (1) $250,000,000 for each of the first 5 fiscal years in which funds are made available to carry out this section; and
    • (2) such sums as may be necessary for each fiscal year after the end of the 5-fiscal year period described in paragraph (1).

 

SEC. 60306. POLICY RESEARCH, DATA COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND MODELING, EVALUATION, AND DISSEMINATION. 

  • (a) REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 1 year after the date on which the Assistant Secretary begins awarding grants under section 60304(d)(1), and annually thereafter, the Assistant Secretary shall—
      • (A) submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that documents, for the year covered by the report—
        • (i) the findings of each evaluation conducted under subparagraph (B);
        • (ii) a list of each grant awarded under each covered program, which shall include—
          • (I) the amount of each such grant;
          • (II) the recipient of each such grant; and
          • (III) the purpose for which each such grant was awarded;
        • (iii) any deobligation, termination, or modification of a grant awarded under the covered programs, which shall include a description of the subsequent usage of any funds to which such an action applies; and
        • (iv) each challenge made by an applicant for, or a recipient of, a grant under the covered programs and the outcome of each such challenge; and
      • (B) conduct evaluations of the activities carried out under the covered programs, which shall include an evaluation of—
        • (i) whether eligible States to which grants are awarded under the program established under section 60304 are—
          • (I) abiding by the assurances made by those States under subsection (e) of that section;
          • (II) meeting, or have met, the stated goals of the Digital Equity Plans developed by the States under subsection (c) of that section;
          • (III) satisfying the requirements imposed by the Assistant Secretary on those States under subsection (g) of that section; and
          • (IV) in compliance with any other rules, requirements, or regulations promulgated by the Assistant Secretary in implementing that program; and
        • (ii) whether entities to which grants are awarded under the program established under section 60305 are—
          • (I) abiding by the assurances made by those entities under subsection (f) of that section;
          • (II) meeting, or have met, the stated goals of those entities with respect to the use of the grant amounts;
          • (III) satisfying the requirements imposed by the Assistant Secretary on those States under subsection (h) of that section; and
          • (IV) in compliance with any other rules, requirements, or regulations promulgated by the Assistant Secretary in implementing that program.
    • (2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The Assistant Secretary shall make each report submitted under paragraph (1)(A) publicly available in an online format that—
      • (A) facilitates access and ease of use;
      • (B) is searchable; and
      • (C) is accessible—
        • (i) to individuals with disabilities; and
        • (ii) in languages other than English.
  • (b) AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT AND ENTER INTO OTHER ARRANGEMENTS.—The Assistant Secretary may award grants and enter into contracts, cooperative agreements, and other arrangements with Federal agencies, public and private organizations, and other entities with expertise that the Assistant Secretary determines appropriate in order to—
    • (1) evaluate the impact and efficacy of activities supported by grants awarded under the covered programs; and
    • (2) develop, catalog, disseminate, and promote the exchange of best practices, both with respect to and independent of the covered programs, in order to achieve digital equity.
  • (c) CONSULTATION AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT.—In carrying out subsection (a), and to further the objectives described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b), the Assistant Secretary shall conduct ongoing collaboration and consult with—
    • (1) the Secretary of Agriculture;
    • (2) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
    • (3) the Secretary of Education;
    • (4) the Secretary of Labor;
    • (5) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
    • (6) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
    • (7) the Secretary of the Interior;
    • (8) the Federal Communications Commission;
    • (9) the Federal Trade Commission;
    • (10) the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services;
    • (11) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
    • (12) the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission;
    • (13) State agencies and governors of States (or equivalent officials);
    • (14) entities serving as administering entities for States under section 60304(b);
    • (15) national, State, tribal, and local organizations that provide digital inclusion, digital equity, or digital literacy services;
    • (16) researchers, academics, and philanthropic organizations; and
    • (17) other agencies, organizations (including international organizations), entities (including entities with expertise in the fields of data collection, analysis and modeling, and evaluation), and community stakeholders, as determined appropriate by the Assistant Secretary.
  • (d) TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE.—The Assistant Secretary shall provide technical support and assistance, assistance to entities to prepare the applications of those entities with respect to grants awarded under the covered programs, and other resources, to the extent practicable, to ensure consistency in data reporting and to meet the objectives of this section.
  • (e) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section, which shall remain available until expended.

 

SEC. 60307. GENERAL PROVISIONS. 

  • (a) NONDISCRIMINATION.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—No individual in the United States may, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that is funded in whole or in part with funds made available to carry out this title.
    • (2) ENFORCEMENT.—The Assistant Secretary shall effectuate paragraph (1) with respect to any program or activity described in that paragraph by issuing regulations and taking actions consistent with section 602 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d–1).
    • (3) JUDICIAL REVIEW.—Judicial review of an action taken by the Assistant Secretary under paragraph (2) shall be available to the extent provided in section 603 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d–2).
  • (b) TECHNOLOGICAL NEUTRALITY.—The Assistant Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, carry out this title in a technologically neutral manner.
  • (c) AUDIT AND OVERSIGHT.—Beginning in the first fiscal year in which amounts are made available to carry out an activity authorized under this title, and in each of the 4 fiscal years thereafter, there is authorized to be appropriated to the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Commerce $1,000,000 for audits and oversight of funds made available to carry out this title, which shall remain available until expended.

ENABLING MIDDLE MILE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE

SEC. 60401. ENABLING MIDDLE MILE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE. 

  • (a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
    • (1) ANCHOR INSTITUTION.—The term ‘‘anchor institution’’ means a school, library, medical or healthcare provider, community college or other institution of higher education, or other community support organization or entity.
    • (2) ASSISTANT SECRETARY.—The term ‘‘Assistant Secretary’’ means the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information.
    • (3) COMMISSION.—The term ‘‘Commission’’ means the Federal Communications Commission.
    • (4) ELIGIBLE ENTITY.—The term ‘‘eligible entity’’ means—
      • (A) a State, political subdivision of a State, Tribal government, technology company, electric utility, utility cooperative, public utility district, telecommunications company, telecommunications cooperative, nonprofit foundation, nonprofit corporation, nonprofit institution, nonprofit association, regional planning counsel, Native entity, or economic development authority; or
      • (B) a partnership of 2 or more entities described in subparagraph (A).
    • (5) FCC FIXED BROADBAND MAP.—The term ‘‘FCC fixed broadband map’’ means the map created by the Commission under section 802(c)(1)(B) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 642(c)(1)(B)).
    • (6) INDIAN TRIBE.—The term ‘‘Indian Tribe’’ has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304)).
    • (7) INTERCONNECT.—The term ‘‘interconnect’’ means the physical linking of 2 networks for the mutual exchange of traffic on non-discriminatory terms and conditions.
    • (8) INTERNET EXCHANGE FACILITY.—The term ‘‘internet exchange facility’’ means physical infrastructure through which internet service providers and content delivery networks exchange internet traffic between their networks.
    • (9) MIDDLE MILE INFRASTRUCTURE.—The term ‘‘middle mile infrastructure’’—
      • (A) means any broadband infrastructure that does not connect directly to an end-user location, including an anchor institution; and
      • (B) includes—
        • (i) leased dark fiber, interoffice transport, backhaul, carrier-neutral internet exchange facilities, carrier-neutral submarine cable landing stations, undersea cables, transport connectivity to data centers, special access transport, and other similar services; and
        • (ii) wired or private wireless broadband infrastructure, including microwave capacity, radio tower access, and other services or infrastructure for a private wireless broadband network, such as towers, fiber, and microwave links.
    • (10) MIDDLE MILE GRANT.—The term ‘‘middle mile grant’’ means a grant awarded under subsection (c).
    • (11) NATIVE ENTITY.—The term ‘‘Native entity’’ means—
      • (A) an Indian Tribe;
      • (B) an Alaska Native Corporation;
      • (C) a Native Hawaiian organization (as defined in section 6207 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7517));
      • (D) the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; and
      • (E) the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
    • (12) STATE.—The term ‘‘State’’ has the meaning given the term in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153).
    • (13) SUBMARINE CABLE LANDING STATION.—The term ‘‘submarine cable landing station’’ means a cable landing station, as that term is used in section 1.767(a)(5) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation), that can be utilized to land a submarine cable by an entity that has obtained a license under the first section of the Act entitled ‘‘An Act relating to the landing and operation of submarine cables in the United States’’, approved May 27, 1921 (47 U.S.C. 34) (commonly known as the ‘‘Cable Landing Licensing Act’’).
    • (14) TRIBAL GOVERNMENT.—The term ‘‘Tribal government’’ means the recognized governing body of any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, community, component band, or component reservation, individually identified (including parenthetically) in the list published most recently as of the date of enactment of this Act pursuant to section 104 of the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 5131).
    • (15) TRUST LAND.—The term ‘‘trust land’’ has the meaning given the term in section 3765 of title 38, United States Code. (16) UNDERSERVED.—The term ‘‘underserved’’, with respect to an area, means an area— (A) that is designated as a Tribally underserved area through the process described in subsection (g); or (B) that— (i) is of a standard size not larger than a census block, as established by the Commission; (ii) is not an unserved area; and (iii) as determined in accordance with the FCC fixed broadband map, does not have access to broadband service with— (I) except as provided in subclause (II)— (aa) a download speed of not less than 100 megabits per second; and (bb) an upload speed of not less than 20 megabits per second; or (II) minimum download and upload speeds established as benchmarks by the Commission for purposes of this Act after the date of enactment of this Act, if those minimum speeds are higher than the minimum speeds required under subclause (I).
    • (17) UNSERVED.—The term ‘‘unserved’’, with respect to an area, means an area—
      • (A) that is designated as a Tribally underserved area through the process described in subsection (g); or
      • (B) that—
        • (i) is of a standard size not larger than a census block, as established by the Commission; and
        • (ii) as determined in accordance with the FCC fixed broadband map, does not have access to broadband service with—
          • (I) except as provided in subclause (II)—
            • (aa) a download speed of not less than 25 megabits per second; and
            • (bb) an upload speed of not less than 3 megabits per second; or
          • (II) minimum download and upload speeds established as benchmarks by the Commission for purposes of this Act after the date of enactment of this Act, if those minimum speeds are higher than the minimum speeds required under subclause (I).
  • (b) PURPOSE; SENSE OF CONGRESS.—
    • (1) PURPOSE.—The purposes of this section are—
      • (A) to encourage the expansion and extension of middle mile infrastructure to reduce the cost of connecting unserved and underserved areas to the backbone of the internet (commonly referred to as the ‘‘last mile’’); and
      • (B) to promote broadband connection resiliency through the creation of alternative network connection paths that can be designed to prevent single points of failure on a broadband network.
    • (2) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that—(A) in awarding middle mile grants, the Assistant Secretary should give priority to—
      • (i) projects that leverage existing rights-of-way, assets, and infrastructure to minimize financial, regulatory, and permitting challenges;
      • (ii) projects in which the eligible entity designs the route of the middle mile infrastructure to enable the connection of unserved anchor institutions, including Tribal anchor institutions; and
      • (iii) projects that facilitate the development of carrier-neutral interconnection facilities; and
      • (iv) projects that—
        • (I) improve the redundancy and resiliency of existing middle mile infrastructure; and
        • (II) reduce regulatory and permitting barriers to promote the construction of new middle mile infrastructure; and
          • (B) a regulated utility should use funds received from a middle mile grant as a supplement to the core utility capital investment plan of the regulated utility to—
            • (i) facilitate increased broadband resiliency or redundancy of existing middle mile infrastructure; or
            • (ii) provide connectivity to unserved areas and underserved areas within the service territory of the utility and nearby communities.
  • (c) MIDDLE MILE GRANTS.—The Assistant Secretary shall establish a program under which the Assistant Secretary makes grants on a technology-neutral, competitive basis to eligible entities for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure.
  • (d) APPLICATIONS FOR GRANTS.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—The Assistant Secretary shall establish an application process for middle mile grants in accordance with this subsection.
    • (2) EVALUATION OF APPLICATIONS.—In establishing an application process for middle mile grants under paragraph (1), the Assistant Secretary shall give priority to an application from an eligible entity that satisfies 2 or more of the following conditions:
      • (A) The eligible entity adopts fiscally sustainable middle mile strategies.
      • (B) The eligible entity commits to offering non-discriminatory interconnect to terrestrial and wireless last mile broadband providers and any other party making a bona fide request.
      • (C) The eligible entity identifies specific terrestrial and wireless last mile broadband providers that have—
        • (i) expressed written interest in interconnecting with middle mile infrastructure planned to be deployed by the eligible entity; and
        • (ii) demonstrated sustainable business plans or adequate funding sources with respect to the interconnect described in clause (i).
      • (D) The eligible entity has identified supplemental investments or in-kind support (such as waived franchise or permitting fees) that will accelerate the completion of the planned project.
      • (E) The eligible entity has demonstrated that the middle mile infrastructure will benefit national security interests of the United States and the Department of Defense.
    • (3) GRANT APPLICATION COMPETENCE.—The Assistant Secretary shall include in the application process established under paragraph (1) a requirement that an eligible entity provide evidence that the eligible entity is capable of carrying out a proposed project in a competent manner, including by demonstrating that the eligible entity has the financial, technical, and operational capability to carry out the proposed project and operate the resulting middle mile broadband network.
  • (e) ELIGIBILITY.—
    • (1) PRIORITIZATION.—To be eligible to obtain a middle mile grant, an eligible entity shall agree, in the application submitted through the process established under subsection (d), to prioritize—
      • (A) connecting middle mile infrastructure to last mile networks that provide or plan to provide broadband service to households in unserved areas;
      • (B) connecting non-contiguous trust lands; or
      • (C) the offering of wholesale broadband service at reasonable rates on a carrier-neutral basis.
    • (2) BUILDOUT TIMELINE.—Subject to paragraph (5), to be eligible to obtain a middle mile grant, an eligible entity shall agree, in the application submitted through the process established under subsection (d), to complete buildout of the middle mile infrastructure described in the application by not later than 5 years after the date on which amounts from the grant are made available to the eligible entity.
    • (3) PROJECT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.—
      • (A) CAPABILITY TO SUPPORT RETAIL BROADBAND SERVICE.—A project shall be eligible for a middle mile grant if, at the time of the application, the Assistant Secretary determines that the proposed middle mile broadband network will be capable of supporting retail broadband service.
      • (B) MAPPING DATA.—
        • (i) USE OF MOST RECENT DATA.—In mapping out gaps in broadband coverage, an eligible entity that uses a middle mile grant to build out terrestrial or fixed wireless middle mile infrastructure shall use the most recent broadband mapping data available from one of the following sources:
          • (I) The FCC fixed broadband map.
          • (II) The State in which the area that will be served by the middle mile infrastructure is located, or the Tribal government with jurisdiction over the area that will be served by the middle mile infrastructure (if applicable).
          • (III) Speed and usage surveys of existing broadband service that—
            • (aa) demonstrate that more than 25 percent of the respondents display a broadband service speed that is slower than the speeds required for an area to qualify as unserved; and
            • (bb) are conducted by—
              • (AA) the eligible entity;
              • (BB) the State in which the area that will be served by the middle mile infrastructure is located; or
              • (CC) the Tribal government with jurisdiction over the area that will be served by the middle mile infrastructure (if applicable).
        • (ii) SHARING FACILITY LOCATIONS.—
          • (I) DEFINITION.—In this clause, the term ‘‘covered recipient’’, with respect to an eligible entity, means—
            • (aa) the Assistant Secretary;
            • (bb) the Commission;
            • (cc) the Tribal government with jurisdiction over the area that will be served by the middle mile infrastructure (if applicable); and
            • (dd) the State broadband office for the State in which the area that will be served by the middle mile infrastructure is located.
          • (II) PROVISION OF INFORMATION.—Subject to subclauses (III) and (IV), an eligible entity that constructs, improves, or acquires middle mile infrastructure using a middle mile grant shall share with each covered recipient the location of all the middle mile broadband infrastructure.
          • (III) FORMAT.—An eligible entity shall provide the information required under subclause (II) to each covered recipient in a uniform format determined by the Assistant Secretary.
          • (IV) PROTECTION OF INFORMATION.—
            • (aa) IN GENERAL.—The information provided by an eligible entity under subclause (II) may only be used for purposes of carrying out the grant program under subsection (c) and any reporting related thereto.
            • (bb) LEGAL DEFENSES.—
              • (AA) IN GENERAL.—A covered recipient may not receive information under subclause (II) unless the covered recipient agrees in writing to assert all available legal defenses to the disclosure of the information if a person or entity seeks disclosure from the covered recipient under any Federal, State, or local public disclosure law.
              • (BB) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.— Nothing in subitem (AA) is intended to be or shall be construed as a waiver of Tribal sovereign immunity.
      • (C) CONNECTION TO ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS.—To the extent feasible, an eligible entity that receives a middle mile grant to build middle mile infrastructure using fiber optic technology shall—
        • (i) ensure that the proposed middle mile broadband network will be capable of providing broadband to an anchor institution at a speed of not less than—
          • (I) 1 gigabit per second for downloads; and
          • (II) 1 gigabit per second for uploads to an anchor institution; and
        • (ii) include direct interconnect facilities that will facilitate the provision of broadband service to anchor institutions located within 1,000 feet of the middle mile infrastructure.
      • (D) INTERCONNECTION AND NONDISCRIMINATION.—
        • (i) IN GENERAL.—An eligible entity that receives a middle mile grant to build a middle mile project using fiber optic technology shall offer interconnection in perpetuity, where technically feasible without exceeding current or reasonably anticipated capacity limitations, on reasonable rates and terms to be negotiated with requesting parties.
        • (ii) NATURE OF INTERCONNECTION.—The interconnection required to be offered under clause (i) includes both the ability to connect to the public internet and physical interconnection for the exchange of traffic.
        • (iii) INCLUSION IN APPLICATION.—An applicant for a middle mile grant shall disclose the applicant’s proposed interconnection, nondiscrimination, and network management practices in the application submitted through the process established under subsection (d).
    • (4) ACCOUNTABILITY.—The Assistant Secretary shall—
      • (A) establish sufficient transparency, accountability, reporting, and oversight measures for the grant program established under subsection (c) to deter waste, fraud, and abuse of program funds; and
      • (B) establish—
        • (i) buildout requirements for each eligible entity that receives a middle mile grant, which shall require the completion of a certain percentage of project miles by a certain date; and
        • (ii) penalties, which may include rescission of funds, for grantees that do not meet requirements described in clause (i) or the deadline under paragraph (2).
    • (5) EXTENSIONS.—
      • (A) IN GENERAL.—At the request of an eligible entity, the Assistant Secretary may extend the buildout deadline under paragraph (2) by not more than 1 year if the eligible entity certifies that—
        • (i) the eligible entity has a plan for use of the middle mile grant;
        • (ii) the project to build out middle mile infrastructure is underway; or
        • (iii) extenuating circumstances require an extension of time to allow completion of the project to build out middle mile infrastructure.
      • (B) EFFECT ON INTERIM BUILDOUT REQUIREMENTS.— If the Assistant Secretary grants an extension under subparagraph (A), the Assistant Secretary shall modify any buildout requirements established under paragraph (4)(B)(i) as necessary.
  • (f) FEDERAL SHARE.—The amount of a middle mile grant awarded to an eligible entity may not exceed 70 percent of the total project cost.
  • (g) SPECIAL RULES FOR TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS.—
    • (1) WAIVERS; ALTERNATIVE REQUIREMENTS.—The Assistant Secretary, in consultation with Tribal governments and Native entities, may waive, or specify alternative requirements for, any provision of subsections (c) through (f) if the Assistant Secretary finds that the waiver or alternative requirement is necessary—
      • (A) for the effective delivery and administration of middle mile grants to Tribal governments; or
      • (B) the construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure on trust land.
    • (2) TRIBALLY UNSERVED AREAS; TRIBALLY UNDERSERVED AREAS.—The Assistant Secretary, in consultation with Tribal governments and Native entities, shall develop a process for designating Tribally unserved areas and Tribally underserved areas for purposes of this section.
  • (h) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $1,000,000,000 for fiscal years 2022 through 2026.

BROADBAND AFFORDABILITY

SEC. 60501. DEFINITIONS. 

In this title— 

  • (1) the term ‘‘broadband internet access service’’ has the meaning given the term in section 8.1(b) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation; and 
  • (2) the term ‘‘Commission’’ means the Federal Communications Commission. 

 

SEC. 60502. BROADBAND AFFORDABILITY. 

  • (a) EXTENSION AND MODIFICATION OF EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT.—
    • (1) EXTENSION.—Section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260) is amended—
      • (A) in the heading, by striking ‘‘DURING EMERGENCY PERIOD RELATING TO COVID–19’’;
      • (B) in subsection (a)—
        • (i) by striking paragraph (8); and
        • (ii) by redesignating paragraphs (9) through (13) as paragraphs (8) through (12), respectively; and (C) in subsection (b)—
          • (i) in paragraph (1), by striking ‘‘during the emergency period’’;
          • (ii) in paragraph (4), by striking ‘‘during the emergency period’’; and
          • (iii) in paragraph (5), by striking ‘‘during the emergency period,’’.
    • (2) CHANGE TO PROGRAM NAME.—Section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260), as amended by paragraph (1) of this subsection, is amended—
      • (A) in subsection (a)(7), in the heading, by striking ‘‘EMERGENCY BROADBAND’’ and inserting ‘‘AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY’’;
      • (B) in subsection (b), in the heading, by striking ‘‘EMER- GENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT’’ and inserting ‘‘AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY’’;
      • (C) in subsection (i), in the heading, by striking ‘‘EMER- GENCY BROADBAND’’ and inserting ‘‘AFFORDABLE’’;
      • (D) by striking ‘‘Emergency Broadband Benefit’’ each place the term appears and inserting ‘‘Affordable Connectivity’’;
      • (E) by striking ‘‘Emergency Broadband’’ each place the term appears and inserting ‘‘Affordable’’; and
      • (F) by striking ‘‘emergency broadband’’ each place the term appears and inserting ‘‘affordable connectivity’’.
    • (3) OTHER INITIAL MODIFICATIONS.—Section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260), as amended by paragraph (2) of this subsection, is amended—
      • (A) in subsection (a)(7)—
        • (i) by striking ‘‘The term’’ and inserting the following:
          • ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph (B), the term’’; and
        • (ii) by adding at the end the following:
          • ‘‘(B) HIGH-COST AREAS.—The Commission shall, by regulation, establish a mechanism by which a participating provider in a high-cost area (as defined in section 60102(a)(2) of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) may provide an affordable connectivity benefit in an amount up to the amount specified in subparagraph (A) for an internet service offering provided on Tribal land upon a showing that the applicability of the lower limit under subparagraph (A) to the provision of the affordable connectivity benefit by the provider would cause particularized economic hardship to the provider such that the provider may not be able to maintain the operation of part or all of its broadband network.’’;
            • (B) in subsection (b)—
              • (i) by redesignating paragraphs (7) through (10) as paragraphs (12) through (15), respectively;
              • (ii) by inserting after paragraph (6) the following:
      • ‘‘(7) REQUIREMENT TO ALLOW CUSTOMERS TO APPLY AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY BENEFIT TO ANY INTERNET SERVICE OFFERING.— ‘
        • ‘(A) IN GENERAL.—A participating provider—
          • ‘‘(i) shall allow an eligible household to apply the affordable connectivity benefit to any internet service offering of the participating provider at the same terms available to households that are not eligible households; and
          • ‘‘(ii) may not require the eligible household to submit to a credit check in order to apply the affordable connectivity benefit to an internet service offering of the participating provider.
        • ‘‘(B) NONPAYMENT.—Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall prevent a participating provider from terminating the provision of broadband internet access service to a subscriber after 90 days of nonpayment.
      • ‘‘(8) PUBLIC AWARENESS.—A participating provider, in collaboration with the applicable State agencies, public interest groups, and non-profit organizations, in order to increase the adoption of broadband internet access service by consumers, shall carry out public awareness campaigns in service areas that are designed to highlight—
        • ‘‘(A) the value and benefits of broadband internet access service; and
        • ‘‘(B) the existence of the Affordable Connectivity Program.
      • ‘‘(9) OVERSIGHT.—The Commission—
        • ‘‘(A) shall establish a dedicated complaint process for consumers who participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program to file complaints about the compliance of participating providers with, including with respect to the quality of service received under, the Program;
        • ‘‘(B) shall require a participating provider to supply information about the existence of the complaint process described in subparagraph (A) to subscribers who participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program;
        • ‘‘(C)(i) shall act expeditiously to investigate potential violations of and enforce compliance with this section, including under clause (ii) of this subparagraph; and
          • ‘‘(ii) in enforcing compliance with this section, may impose forfeiture penalties under section 503 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 503); and
        • ‘‘(D) shall regularly issue public reports about complaints regarding the compliance of participating providers with the Affordable Connectivity Program.
      • ‘‘(10) INFORMATION ON AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM.—
        • ‘‘(A) PARTICIPATING PROVIDERS.—When a customer subscribes to, or renews a subscription to, an internet service offering of a participating provider, the participating provider shall notify the customer about the existence of the Affordable Connectivity Program and how to enroll in the Program.
        • ‘‘(B) FEDERAL AGENCIES.—The Commission shall collaborate with relevant Federal agencies, including to ensure relevant Federal agencies update their System of Records Notices, to ensure that a household that participates in any program that qualifies the household for the Affordable Connectivity Program is provided information about the Program, including how to enroll in the Program.
        • ‘‘(C) COMMISSION OUTREACH.—
          • ‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—The Commission may conduct outreach efforts to encourage eligible households to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
          • ‘‘(ii) ACTIVITIES.—In carrying out clause (i), the Commission may—
          • ‘‘(I) facilitate consumer research;
          • ‘‘(II) conduct focus groups;
          • ‘‘(III) engage in paid media campaigns;
          • ‘‘(IV) provide grants to outreach partners; and
          • ‘‘(V) provide an orderly transition for participating providers and consumers from the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program established under paragraph (1) (as that paragraph was in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) to the Affordable Connectivity Program.
      • ‘‘(11) CONSUMER PROTECTION ISSUES.—
        • ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall, after providing notice and opportunity for comment in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, promulgate rules to protect consumers who participate in, or seek to participate in, the Affordable Connectivity Program from—
          • ‘‘(i) inappropriate upselling or downselling by a participating provider;
          • ‘‘(ii) inappropriate requirements that a consumer opt in to an extended service contract as a condition of participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program;
          • ‘‘(iii) inappropriate restrictions on the ability of a consumer to switch internet service offerings or otherwise apply support from the Affordable Connectivity Program to a different internet service offering with a participating provider;
          • ‘‘(iv) inappropriate restrictions on the ability of a consumer to switch participating providers, other than a requirement that the customer return any customer premises equipment provided by a participating provider; and
          • ‘‘(v) similar restrictions that amount to unjust and unreasonable acts or practices that undermine the purpose, intent, or integrity of the Affordable Connectivity Program.
        • ‘‘(B) EXCEPTIONS.—In complying with this paragraph, the Commission may take advantage of the exceptions set forth in subsections (e) and (f).’’; and
      • (iii) in paragraph (14), as so redesignated, by striking ‘‘paragraph (7)’’ and inserting ‘‘paragraph (12)’’.
  • (b) DELAYED AMENDMENTS TO AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM.—
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—Effective on the date on which the Commission submits the certification required under paragraph (4), or December 31, 2021, whichever is earlier, section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260), as amended by subsection (a) of this section, is amended—
      • (A) in subsection (a)—
        • (i) in paragraph (6)— 
          • (I) in subparagraph (A), by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: ‘‘except that such subsection (a), including for purposes of such subsection (b), shall be applied by substituting ‘200 percent’ for ‘135 percent’ ’’;
          • (II) by striking subparagraph (C);
          • (III) by redesignating subparagraphs (D) and (E) as subparagraphs (C) and (D), respectively;
          • (IV) in subparagraph (C), as so redesignated, by striking ‘‘or’’ at the end;
          • (V) in subparagraph (D), as so redesignated— 
            • (aa) by striking ‘‘or COVID–19’’; and 
            • (bb) by striking the period at the end and inserting ‘‘; or’’; and
          • (VI) by adding at the end the following:
        • ‘‘(E) at least one member of the household receives assistance through the special supplemental nutritional program for women, infants, and children established by section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1786).’’;
          • (ii) in paragraph (7)—
            • (I) by striking ‘‘which shall be no more than the standard rate for an internet service offering and associated equipment,’’; and
            • (II) by striking ‘‘$50’’ and inserting ‘‘$30’’;
          • (iii) in paragraph (8), as so redesignated by subsection (a) of this section, by striking ‘‘, offered in the same manner, and on the same terms, as described in any of such provider’s offerings for broadband internet access service to such household, as on December 1, 2020’’; and
          • (iv) by striking paragraph (12), as so redesignated by subsection (a) of this section; and (B) in subsection (b)(6)—
            • (i) by striking subparagraph (A);
            • (ii) by redesignating subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D) as subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C), respectively; and
            • (iii) in subparagraph (A), as so redesignated—
              • (I) by striking clause (i); and
              • (II) by redesignating clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) as clauses (i), (ii), and (iii), respectively.
    • (2) APPLICABILITY OF AMENDMENT TO ELIGIBILITY.— A household that qualified for the Affordable Connectivity Program under section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260) before the effective date in paragraph (1) and, as of that effective date, would, but for this subparagraph, see a reduction in the amount of the affordable connectivity benefit under the Program, shall, during the 60-day period beginning on that effective date, be eligible for the affordable connectivity benefit in the amount in effect with respect to that household, as of the day before that effective date.
    • (3) TRANSITION.—After the effective date under paragraph (1), an eligible household that was participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program under section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260) on the day before the date of enactment of this Act and qualifies for the Affordable Connectivity Program established under that section (as amended by this section) shall continue to have access to an affordable service offering.
    • (4) CERTIFICATION REQUIRED.—On the date on which the amounts appropriated under section 904(i)(2) of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116– 260) have been fully expended, the Commission shall submit to Congress a certification regarding that fact.
  • (c) BROADBAND TRANSPARENCY RULES.—
    • (1) RULES.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall issue final rules regarding the annual collection by the Commission of data relating to the price and subscription rates of each internet service offering of a participating provider under the Affordable Connectivity Program established under section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260) (as amended by this section) to which an eligible household subscribes.
    • (2) UPDATES.—Not later than 180 days after the date on which rules are issued under paragraph (1), and when determined to be necessary by the Commission thereafter, the Commission shall revise the rules to verify the accuracy of data submitted pursuant to the rules.
    • (3) REDUNDANCY AVOIDANCE.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the Commission, in order to meet a requirement of this subsection, to duplicate an activity that the Commission is undertaking as of the date of enactment of this Act, if—
      • (A) the Commission refers to the activity in the rules issued under paragraph (1);
      • (B) the activity meets the requirements of this subsection; and
      • (C) the Commission discloses the activity to the public.
    • (4) AVAILABILITY OF DATA.—
      • (A) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The Commission shall make data relating to broadband internet access service collected under the rules issued under paragraph (1) available to the public in a commonly used electronic format without risking the disclosure of personally identifiable information or proprietary information, consistent with section 0.459 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
      • (B) DETERMINATION OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION.—The Commission—
        • (i) shall define the term ‘‘personally identifiable information’’, for purposes of subparagraph (A) through notice and comment rulemaking; and
        • (ii) may not make any data available to the public under subparagraph (A) before completing the rulemaking under clause (i) of this subparagraph.
  • (d) GUIDANCE.—The Commission may issue such guidance, forms, instructions, or publications, or provide such technical assistance, as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the programs, projects, or activities authorized under this section and the amendments made by this section, including to ensure that such programs, projects, or activities are completed in a timely and effective manner.
  • (e) COORDINATION.—The Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Education, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall—
    • (1) not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Universal Service Administrative Company to provide for the expeditious sharing of data through the National Verifier (as that term is defined in section 54.400 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation), or any successor system, for the purposes of verifying consumer eligibility for the program established under section 904 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260), as amended by this section; and
    • (2) not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, begin to share data under the memorandum of understanding described in paragraph (1) for the purposes described in that paragraph. 

 

SEC. 60503. COORDINATION WITH CERTAIN OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES. 

  • Section 804(b)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 644(b)(2)), as added by section 2 of the Broadband DATA Act (Public Law 116–130), is amended— 
    • (1) in subparagraph (A), by adding ‘‘and’’ at the end; and 
    • (2) by striking subparagraphs (B) and (C) and inserting the following: 
      • ‘‘(B) coordinate with the Postmaster General, the heads of other Federal agencies that operate delivery fleet vehicles, and the Director of the Bureau of the Census for assistance with data collection whenever coordination could feasibly yield more specific geographic data.’’. 

 

SEC. 60504. ADOPTION OF CONSUMER BROADBAND LABELS

  • (a) FINAL RULE.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate regulations to require the display of broadband consumer labels, as described in the Public Notice of the Commission issued on April 4, 2016 (DA 16–357), to disclose to consumers information regarding broadband internet access service plans. 
  • (b) INTRODUCTORY RATE INFORMATION.— 
    • (1) IN GENERAL.—The broadband consumer label required under subsection (a) shall also include information regarding whether the offered price is an introductory rate and, if so, the price the consumer will be required to pay following the introductory period. 
    • (2) USE IN BROADBAND DATA COLLECTION.—The Commission shall rely on the price information displayed on the broadband consumer label required under subsection (a) for any collection of data relating to the price and subscription rates of each covered broadband internet access service under section 60502(c). 
  • (c) HEARINGS.—In issuing the final rule under subsection (a), the Commission shall conduct a series of public hearings to assess, at the time of the proceeding— 
    • (1) how consumers evaluate broadband internet access service plans; and 
    • (2) whether disclosures to consumers of information regarding broadband internet access service plans, including the disclosures required under section 8.1 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, are available, effective, and sufficient.

 

SEC. 60505. GAO REPORT. 

  • (a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section, the term ‘‘appropriate committees of Congress’’ means— 
    • (1) the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; 
    • (2) the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; 
    • (3) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; 
    • (4) the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate; 
    • (5) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate; 
    • (6) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives; 
    • (7) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives; and 
    • (8) the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of the Representatives. 
  • (b) REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that evaluates the process used by the Commission for establishing, reviewing, and updating the upload and download speed thresholds for broadband internet access service, including— 
    • (1) how the Commission reviews and updates broadband internet access speed thresholds; 
    • (2) whether the Commission should consider future broadband internet access service speed needs when establishing broadband internet access service speed thresholds, including whether the Commission considers the need, or the anticipated need, for higher upload or download broadband internet access service speeds in the 5-year period and the 10-year period after the date on which a broadband internet access service speed threshold is to be established; and 
    • (3) whether the Commission should consider the impacts of changing uses of the internet in establishing, reviewing, or updating broadband internet access service speed thresholds, including— 
      • (A) the proliferation of internet-based business; 
      • (B) working remotely and running a business from home; 
      • (C) video teleconferencing; 
      • (D) distance learning; 
      • (E) in-house web hosting; and 
      • (F) cloud data storage. 

 

SEC. 60506. DIGITAL DISCRIMINATION. 

  • (a) STATEMENT OF POLICY.—It is the policy of the United States that, insofar as technically and economically feasible— 
    • (1) subscribers should benefit from equal access to broadband internet access service within the service area of a provider of such service; 
    • (2) the term ‘‘equal access’’, for purposes of this section, means the equal opportunity to subscribe to an offered service that provides comparable speeds, capacities, latency, and other quality of service metrics in a given area, for comparable terms and conditions; and
    • (3) the Commission should take steps to ensure that all people of the United States benefit from equal access to broadband internet access service. 
  • (b) ADOPTION OF RULES.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall adopt final rules to facilitate equal access to broadband internet access service, taking into account the issues of technical and economic feasibility presented by that objective, including— 
    • (1) preventing digital discrimination of access based on income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion, or national origin; and 
    • (2) identifying necessary steps for the Commissions to take to eliminate discrimination described in paragraph (1). 
  • (c) FEDERAL POLICIES.—The Commission and the Attorney General shall ensure that Federal policies promote equal access to robust broadband internet access service by prohibiting deployment discrimination based on— 
    • (1) the income level of an area; 
    • (2) the predominant race or ethnicity composition of an area; or 
    • (3) other factors the Commission determines to be relevant based on the findings in the record developed from the rulemaking under subsection (b). 
  • (d) MODEL STATE AND LOCAL POLICIES.—The Commission shall develop model policies and best practices that can be adopted by States and localities to ensure that broadband internet access service providers do not engage in digital discrimination. 
  • (e) COMPLAINTS.—The Commission shall revise its public complaint process to accept complaints from consumers or other members of the public that relate to digital discrimination.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY WORKFORCE

SEC. 60601. SHORT TITLE. 

  • This title may be cited as the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act.

 

SEC. 60602. TELECOMMUNICATIONS INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP.

  • (a) IN GENERAL.Part I of title III of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

 

SEC. 344. TELECOMMUNICATIONS INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP.

  • (a) DEFINITION.In this section, the term telecommunications interagency working group means the interagency working group established under subsection (b)(1).
  • (b) ESTABLISHMENT.
    • (1) IN GENERAL.Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Chairman of the Commission, in partnership with the Secretary of Labor, shall establish within the Commission an interagency working group to develop recommendations to address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry, including the safety of that workforce.
    • (2) DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT.The telecommunications interagency working group shall be considered established on the date on which a majority of the members of the working group have been appointed, consistent with subsection (d).
  • (c) DUTIES.In developing recommendations under subsection (b), the telecommunications interagency working group shall
    • (1) determine whether, and if so how, any Federal laws, regulations, guidance, policies, or practices, or any budgetary constraints, may be amended to strengthen the ability of institutions of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) or forprofit businesses to establish, adopt, or expand programs intended to address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry, including the workforce needed to build and maintain the 5G wireless infrastructure necessary to support 5G wireless technology;
    • (2) identify potential policies and programs that could encourage and improve coordination among Federal agencies, between Federal agencies and States, and among States, on telecommunications workforce needs;
    • (3) identify ways in which existing Federal programs, including programs that help facilitate the employment of veterans and military personnel transitioning into civilian life, could be leveraged to help address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry;
    • (4) identify ways to improve recruitment in workforce development programs in the telecommunications industry;
    • (5) identify Federal incentives that could be provided to institutions of higher education, for-profit businesses, State workforce development boards established under section 101 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3111), or other relevant stakeholders to establish or adopt new programs, expand current programs, or partner with registered apprenticeship programs, to address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry, including such needs in rural areas;
    • (6) identify ways to improve the safety of telecommunications workers, including tower climbers; and
    • (7) identify ways that trends in wages, benefits, and working conditions in the telecommunications industry impact recruitment of employees in the sector.
  • (d) MEMBERS.The telecommunications interagency working group shall be composed of the following representatives of Federal agencies and relevant non-Federal industry and labor stakeholder organizations:
    • (1) A representative of the Department of Education, appointed by the Secretary of Education.
    • (2) A representative of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, appointed by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information.
    • (3) A representative of the Commission, appointed by the Chairman of the Commission.
    • (4) A representative of a registered apprenticeship program in construction or maintenance, appointed by the Secretary of Labor.
    • (5) A representative of a telecommunications industry association, appointed by the Chairman of the Commission.
    • (6) A representative of an Indian Tribe or Tribal organization, appointed by the Chairman of the Commission.
    • (7) A representative of a rural telecommunications carrier, appointed by the Chairman of the Commission.
    • (8) A representative of a telecommunications contractor firm, appointed by the Chairman of the Commission.
    • (9) A representative of an institution of higher education described in section 371(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1067q(a)), appointed by the Secretary of Education.
    • (10) A public interest advocate for tower climber safety, appointed by the Secretary of Labor.
    • (11) A representative of the Directorate of Construction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, appointed by the Secretary of Labor.
    • (12) A representative of a labor organization representing the telecommunications workforce, appointed by the Secretary of Labor.
  • (e) NO COMPENSATION.A member of the telecommunications interagency working group shall serve without compensation.
  • (f) OTHER MATTERS.
    • (1) CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR.The telecommunications interagency working group shall name a chair and a vice chair, who shall be responsible for organizing the business of the working group.
    • (2) SUBGROUPS.The chair and vice chair of the telecommunications interagency working group, in consultation with the other members of the telecommunications interagency working group, may establish such subgroups as necessary to help conduct the work of the telecommunications interagency working group.
    • (3) SUPPORT.The Commission and the Secretary of Labor may detail employees of the Commission and the Department of Labor, respectively, to assist and support the work of the telecommunications interagency working group, though such a detailee shall not be considered to be a member of the working group.
  • (g) REPORT TO CONGRESS.
    • (1) REPORT TO CONGRESS.Not later than 1 year after the date on which the telecommunications interagency working group is established, the working group shall submit a report containing its recommendations to address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry to
      • (A) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;
      • (B) the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate;
      • (C) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives;
      • (D) the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives;
      • (E) the Department of Labor; and
      • (F) the Commission.
    • (2) MAJORITY SUPPORT.The telecommunications interagency working group may not submit the report under paragraph (1) unless the report has the support of not less than the majority of the members of the working group.
    • (3) VIEWS.The telecommunications interagency working group shall
      • (A) include with the report submitted under paragraph (1) any concurring or dissenting view offered by a member of the working group; and
      • (B) identify each member to whom each concurring or dissenting view described in subparagraph (A) should be attributed.
    • (4) PUBLIC POSTING.The Commission and the Secretary of Labor shall make a copy of the report submitted under paragraph (1) available to the public on the websites of the Commission and the Department of Labor, respectively.
  • (h) NONAPPLICABILITY OF FACA.The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the telecommunications interagency working group..
  • (b) SUNSET. Section 344 of the Communications Act of 1934, as added by subsection (a), shall be repealed on the day after the date on which the interagency working group established under subsection (b)(1) of that section submits the report to Congress under subsection (g) of that section.

 

SEC. 60603. TELECOMMUNICATIONS WORKFORCE GUIDANCE. 

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Labor, in partnership with the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, shall establish and issue guidance on how States can address the workforce needs and safety of the telecommunications industry, including guidance on how a State workforce development board established under section 101 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3111) can

  • (1) utilize Federal resources available to States to meet the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry;
  • (2) promote and improve recruitment in workforce development programs in the telecommunications industry; and
  • (3) ensure the safety of the telecommunications workforce, including tower climbers.

 

SEC. 60604. GAO ASSESSMENT OF WORKFORCE NEEDS OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY.

  • (a) DEFINITIONS.In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means
    • (1) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;
    • (2) the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate;
    • (3) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives; and
    • (4) the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives.
  • (b) REPORT.Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that estimates the number of skilled telecommunications workers that will be required to build and maintain
    • (1) broadband infrastructure in rural areas, including estimates based on
      • (A) current need; and
      • (B) projected need, if Congress enacts legislation that accelerates broadband infrastructure construction in the United States; and 
    • (2) the wireless infrastructure needed to support 5G wireless technology. 

BUILD AMERICA, BUY AMERICA

Subtitle A – Build America, Buy America

SEC. 70901. SHORT TITLE. 

  • This subtitle may be cited as the Build America, Buy America Act.

 

PART I – BUY AMERICA SOURCING REQUIREMENTS

 

SEC. 70911. FINDINGS. 

Congress finds that

  • (1) the United States must make significant investments to install, upgrade, or replace the public works infrastructure of the United States;
  • (2) with respect to investments in the infrastructure of the United States, taxpayers expect that their public works infrastructure will be produced in the United States by American workers;
  • (3) United States taxpayer dollars invested in public infrastructure should not be used to reward companies that have moved their operations, investment dollars, and jobs to foreign countries or foreign factories, particularly those that do not share or openly flout the commitments of the United States to environmental, worker, and workplace safety protections;
  • (4) in procuring materials for public works projects, entities using taxpayer-financed Federal assistance should give a commonsense procurement preference for the materials and products produced by companies and workers in the United States in accordance with the high ideals embodied in the environmental, worker, workplace safety, and other regulatory requirements of the United States;
  • (5) common construction materials used in public works infrastructure projects, including steel, iron, manufactured products, non-ferrous metals, plastic and polymer-based products (including polyvinylchloride, composite building materials, and polymers used in fiber optic cables), glass (including optic glass), lumber, and drywall are not adequately covered by a domestic content procurement preference, thus limiting the impact of taxpayer purchases to enhance supply chains in the United States;
  • (6) the benefits of domestic content procurement preferences extend beyond economics;
  • (7) by incentivizing domestic manufacturing, domestic content procurement preferences reinvest tax dollars in companies and processes using the highest labor and environmental standards in the world;
  • (8) strong domestic content procurement preference policies act to prevent shifts in production to countries that rely on production practices that are significantly less energy efficient and far more polluting than those in the United States;
  • (9) for over 75 years, Buy America and other domestic content procurement preference laws have been part of the United States procurement policy, ensuring that the United States can build and rebuild the infrastructure of the United States with high-quality American-made materials;
  • (10) before the date of enactment of this Act, a domestic content procurement preference requirement may not apply, may apply only to a narrow scope of products and materials, or may be limited by waiver with respect to many infrastructure programs, which necessitates a review of such programs, including programs for roads, highways, and bridges, public transportation, dams, ports, harbors, and other maritime facilities, intercity passenger and freight railroads, freight and intermodal facilities, airports, water systems, including drinking water and wastewater systems, electrical transmission facilities and systems, utilities, broadband infrastructure, and buildings and real property;
  • (11) Buy America laws create demand for domestically produced goods, helping to sustain and grow domestic manufacturing and the millions of jobs domestic manufacturing supports throughout product supply chains;
  • (12) as of the date of enactment of this Act, domestic content procurement preference policies apply to all Federal Government procurement and to various Federal-aid infrastructure programs;
  • (13) a robust domestic manufacturing sector is a vital component of the national security of the United States;
  • (14) as more manufacturing operations of the United States have moved offshore, the strength and readiness of the defense industrial base of the United States has been diminished; and
  • (15) domestic content procurement preference laws
    • (A) are fully consistent with the international obligations of the United States; and
    • (B) together with the government procurements to which the laws apply, are important levers for ensuring that United States manufacturers can access the government procurement markets of the trading partners of the United States.

 

SEC. 70912. DEFINITIONS. 

In this part:

  • (1) DEFICIENT PROGRAM. The term deficient program means a program identified by the head of a Federal agency under section 70913(c).
  • (2) DOMESTIC CONTENT PROCUREMENT PREFERENCE. The term domestic content procurement preference means a requirement that no amounts made available through a program for Federal financial assistance may be obligated for a project unless
    • (A) all iron and steel used in the project are produced in the United States;
    • (B) the manufactured products used in the project are produced in the United States; or
    • (C) the construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.
  • (3) FEDERAL AGENCY. The term Federal agency means any authority of the United States that is an agency (as defined in section 3502 of title 44, United States Code), other than an independent regulatory agency (as defined in that section).
  • (4) FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.
    • (A) IN GENERAL. The term Federal financial assistance has the meaning given the term in section 200.1 of title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations).
    • (B) INCLUSION. The term Federal financial assistance includes all expenditures by a Federal agency to a non-Federal entity for an infrastructure project, except that it does not include expenditures for assistance authorized under section 402, 403, 404, 406, 408, or 502 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170a, 5170b, 5170c, 5172, 5174, or 5192) relating to a major disaster or emergency declared by the President under section 401 or 501, respectively, of such Act (42 U.S.C. 5170, 5191) or pre and post disaster or emergency response expenditures.
  • (5) INFRASTRUCTURE. The term infrastructure includes, at a minimum, the structures, facilities, and equipment for, in the United States
    • (A) roads, highways, and bridges;
    • (B) public transportation;
    • (C) dams, ports, harbors, and other maritime facilities;
    • (D) intercity passenger and freight railroads;
    • (E) freight and intermodal facilities;
    • (F) airports;
    • (G) water systems, including drinking water and wastewater systems;
    • (H) electrical transmission facilities and systems;
    • (I) utilities;
    • (J) broadband infrastructure; and
    • (K) buildings and real property.
  • (6) PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES. The term produced in the United States means
    • (A) in the case of iron or steel products, that all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States;
    • (B) in the case of manufactured products, that
      • (i) the manufactured product was manufactured in the United States; and
      • (ii) the cost of the components of the manufactured product that are mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States is greater than 55 percent of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product, unless another standard for determining the minimum amount of domestic content of the manufactured product has been established under applicable law or regulation; and
    • (C) in the case of construction materials, that all manufacturing processes for the construction material occurred in the United States.
  • (7) PROJECT. The term project means the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of infrastructure in the United States.

 

SEC. 70913. IDENTIFICATION OF DEFICIENT PROGRAMS.

  • (a) IN GENERAL. Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the head of each Federal agency shall
    • (1) submit to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress, including a separate notice to each appropriate congressional committee, a report that identifies each Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure administered by the Federal agency; and
    • (2) publish in the Federal Register the report under paragraph (1).
  • (b) REQUIREMENTS. In the report under subsection (a), the head of each Federal agency shall, for each Federal financial assistance program
    • (1) identify all domestic content procurement preferences applicable to the Federal financial assistance;
    • (2) assess the applicability of the domestic content procurement preference requirements, including
      • (A) section 313 of title 23, United States Code;
      • (B) section 5323(j) of title 49, United States Code;
      • (C) section 22905(a) of title 49, United States Code;
      • (D) section 50101 of title 49, United States Code;
      • (E) section 603 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1388);
      • (F) section 1452(a)(4) of the Safe Drinking Water Act
        • (42 U.S.C. 300j12(a)(4));
      • (G) section 5035 of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (33 U.S.C. 3914);
      • (H) any domestic content procurement preference included in an appropriations Act; and
      • (I) any other domestic content procurement preference in Federal law (including regulations);
    • (3) provide details on any applicable domestic content procurement preference requirement, including the purpose, scope, applicability, and any exceptions and waivers issued under the requirement; and
    • (4) include a description of the type of infrastructure projects that receive funding under the program, including information relating to
      • (A) the number of entities that are participating in the program;
      • (B) the amount of Federal funds that are made available for the program for each fiscal year; and
      • (C) any other information the head of the Federal agency determines to be relevant.
  • (c) LIST OF DEFICIENT PROGRAMS. In the report under subsection (a), the head of each Federal agency shall include a list of Federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure identified under that subsection for which a domestic content procurement preference requirement
    • (1) does not apply in a manner consistent with section 70914; or
    • (2) is subject to a waiver of general applicability not limited to the use of specific products for use in a specific project.
    • SEC. 70914. APPLICATION OF BUY AMERICA PREFERENCE.
      • (a) IN GENERAL. Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the head of each Federal agency shall ensure that none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure, including each deficient program, may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.
      • (b) WAIVER. The head of a Federal agency that applies a domestic content procurement preference under this section may waive the application of that preference in any case in which the head of the Federal agency finds that
        • (1) applying the domestic content procurement preference would be inconsistent with the public interest;
        • (2) types of iron, steel, manufactured products, or construction materials are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or of a satisfactory quality; or
        • (3) the inclusion of iron, steel, manufactured products, or construction materials produced in the United States will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent.
      • (c) WRITTEN JUSTIFICATION. Before issuing a waiver under subsection (b), the head of the Federal agency shall
        • (1) make publicly available in an easily accessible location on a website designated by the Office of Management and Budget and on the website of the Federal agency a detailed written explanation for the proposed determination to issue the waiver; and
        • (2) provide a period of not less than 15 days for public comment on the proposed waiver.
  • (d) REVIEW OF WAIVERS OF GENERAL APPLICABILITY.
    • (1) IN GENERAL. An existing general applicability waiver or a general applicability waiver issued under subsection (b) shall be reviewed every 5 years after the date on which the waiver is issued.
    • (2) REVIEW. In conducting a review of a general applicability waiver, the head of a Federal agency shall
      • (A) publish in the Federal Register a notice that
        • (i) describes the justification for a general applicability waiver; and
        • (ii) requests public comments for a period of not less than 30 days on the continued need for a general applicability waiver; and
      • (B) publish in the Federal Register a determination on whether to continue or discontinue the general applicability waiver, taking into account the comments received in response to the notice published under subparagraph (A).
    • (3) LIMITATION ON THE REVIEW OF EXISTING WAIVERS OF GENERAL APPLICABILITY. For a period of 5 years beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not apply to any product-specific general applicability waiver that was issued more than 180 days before the date of enactment of this Act.
  • (e) CONSISTENCY WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS. This section shall be applied in a manner consistent with United States obligations under international agreements.

 

SEC. 70915. OMB GUIDANCE AND STANDARDS.

  • (a) GUIDANCE. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall
    • (1) issue guidance to the head of each Federal agency
      • (A) to assist in identifying deficient programs under section 70913(c); and
      • (B) to assist in applying new domestic content procurement preferences under section 70914; and
    • (2) if necessary, amend subtitle A of title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), to ensure that domestic content procurement preference requirements required by this part or other Federal law are imposed through the terms and conditions of awards of Federal financial assistance.
  • (b) STANDARDS FOR CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS.
    • (1) IN GENERAL. Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall issue standards that define the term all manufacturing processes in the case of construction materials.
    • (2) CONSIDERATIONS. In issuing standards under paragraph (1), the Director shall
      • (A) ensure that the standards require that each manufacturing process required for the manufacture of the construction material and the inputs of the construction material occurs in the United States; and
      • (B) take into consideration and seek to maximize the direct and indirect jobs benefited or created in the production of the construction material.

 

SEC. 70916. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PARTNERSHIP AND CONSULTATION SUPPORTING DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION BUY AMERICA REQUIREMENTS.

  • (a) DEFINITIONS. In this section:
    • (1) BUY AMERICA LAW. The term Buy America law means
      • (A) section 313 of title 23, United States Code;
      • (B) section 5323(j) of title 49, United States Code;
      • (C) section 22905(a) of title 49, United States Code;
      • (D) section 50101 of title 49, United States Code; and
      • (E) any other domestic content procurement preference for an infrastructure project under the jurisdiction of the Secretary.
    • (2) SECRETARY. The term Secretary means the Secretary of Transportation.
  • (b) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PARTNERSHIP. Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into a technical assistance partnership with the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
    • (1) to ensure the development of a domestic supply base to support intermodal transportation in the United States, such as intercity high speed rail transportation, public transportation systems, highway construction or reconstruction, airport improvement projects, and other infrastructure projects under the jurisdiction of the Secretary;
    • (2) to ensure compliance with Buy America laws that apply to a project that receives assistance from the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, or another office or modal administration of the Secretary of Transportation;
    • (3) to encourage technologies developed with the support of and resources from the Secretary to be transitioned into commercial market and applications; and
    • (4) to establish procedures for consultation under subsection (c).
  • (c) CONSULTATION. Before granting a written waiver under a Buy America law, the Secretary shall consult with the Director of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership regarding whether there is a domestic entity that could provide the iron, steel, manufactured product, or construction material that is the subject of the proposed waiver.
  • (d) ANNUAL REPORT. Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Oversight and Reform of the House of Representatives a report that includes
    • (1) a detailed description of the consultation procedures developed under subsection (b)(4);
    • (2) a detailed description of each waiver requested under a Buy America law in the preceding year that was subject to consultation under subsection (c), and the results of the consultation;
    • (3) a detailed description of each waiver granted under a Buy America law in the preceding year, including the type of waiver and the reasoning for granting the waiver; and
    • (4) an update on challenges and gaps in the domestic supply base identified in carrying out subsection (b)(1), including a list of actions and policy changes the Secretary recommends be taken to address those challenges and gaps.

 

SEC. 70917. APPLICATION.

  • (a) IN GENERAL. This part shall apply to a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure only to the extent that a domestic content procurement preference as described in section 70914 does not already apply to iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials.
  • (b) SAVINGS PROVISION. Nothing in this part affects a domestic content procurement preference for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure that is in effect and that meets the requirements of section 70914.
  • (c) LIMITATION WITH RESPECT TO AGGREGATES. In this part
    • (1) the term construction materials shall not include cement and cementitious materials, aggregates such as stone, sand, or gravel, or aggregate binding agents or additives; and
    • (2) the standards developed under section 70915(b)(1) shall not include cement and cementitious materials, aggregates such as stone, sand, or gravel, or aggregate binding agents or additives as inputs of the construction material.

 

PART II – MAKE IT IN AMERICA

SEC. 70921. REGULATIONS RELATING TO BUY AMERICAN ACT.

  • (a) IN GENERAL. Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director), acting through the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy and, in consultation with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, shall promulgate final regulations or other policy or management guidance, as appropriate, to standardize and simplify how Federal agencies comply with, report on, and enforce the Buy American Act. The regulations or other policy or management guidance shall include, at a minimum, the following:
    • (1) Guidelines for Federal agencies to determine, for the purposes of applying sections 8302(a) and 8303(b)(3) of title 41, United States Code, the circumstances under which the acquisition of articles, materials, or supplies mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States is inconsistent with the public interest.
    • (2) Guidelines to ensure Federal agencies base determinations of non-availability on appropriate considerations, including anticipated project delays and lack of substitutable articles, materials, and supplies mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States, when making determinations of non-availability under section 8302(a)(1) of title 41, United States Code.
    • (3)
      • (A) Uniform procedures for each Federal agency to make publicly available, in an easily identifiable location on the website of the agency, and within the following time periods, the following information:
        • (i) A written description of the circumstances in which the head of the agency may waive the requirements of the Buy American Act.
        • (ii) Each waiver made by the head of the agency within 30 days after making such waiver, including a justification with sufficient detail to explain the basis for the waiver.
      • (B) The procedures established under this paragraph shall ensure that the head of an agency, in consultation with the head of the Made in America Office established under section 70923(a), may limit the publication of classified information, trade secrets, or other information that could damage the United States.
    • (4) Guidelines for Federal agencies to ensure that a project is not disaggregated for purposes of avoiding the applicability of the requirements under the Buy American Act.
    • (5) An increase to the price preferences for domestic end products and domestic construction materials.
    • (6) Amending the definitions of domestic end product and domestic construction material to ensure that iron and steel products are, to the greatest extent possible, made with domestic components.
  • (b) GUIDELINES RELATING TO WAIVERS.
    • (1) INCONSISTENCY WITH PUBLIC INTEREST.
      • (A) IN GENERAL. With respect to the guidelines developed under subsection (a)(1), the Administrator shall seek to minimize waivers related to contract awards that
        • (i) result in a decrease in employment in the United States, including employment among entities that manufacture the articles, materials, or supplies; or
        • (ii) result in awarding a contract that would decrease domestic employment.
      • (B) COVERED EMPLOYMENT. For purposes of subparagraph (A), employment refers to positions directly involved in the manufacture of articles, materials, or supplies, and does not include positions related to management, research and development, or engineering and design.
    • (2) ASSESSMENT ON USE OF DUMPED OR SUBSIDIZED FOREIGN PRODUCTS.
      • (A) IN GENERAL. To the extent otherwise permitted by law, before granting a waiver in the public interest to the guidelines developed under subsection (a)(1) with respect to a product sourced from a foreign country, a Federal agency shall assess whether a significant portion of the cost advantage of the product is the result of the use of dumped steel, iron, or manufactured goods or the use of injuriously subsidized steel, iron, or manufactured goods.
      • (B) CONSULTATION. The Federal agency conducting the assessment under subparagraph (A) shall consult with the International Trade Administration in making the assessment if the agency considers such consultation to be helpful.
      • (C) USE OF FINDINGS. The Federal agency conducting the assessment under subparagraph (A) shall integrate any findings from the assessment into its waiver determination.
  • (c) SENSE OF CONGRESS ON INCREASING DOMESTIC CONTENT REQUIREMENTS. It is the sense of Congress that the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council should amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to increase the domestic content requirements for domestic end products and domestic construction material to 75 percent, or, in the event of no qualifying offers, 60 percent.
  • (d) DEFINITION OF END PRODUCT MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES. Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall amend part 25 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation to provide a definition for end product manufactured in the United States, including guidelines to ensure that manufacturing processes involved in production of the end product occur domestically.

 

SEC. 70922. AMENDMENTS RELATING TO BUY AMERICAN ACT.

  • (a) SPECIAL RULES RELATING TO AMERICAN MATERIALS REQUIRED FOR PUBLIC USE.
    • Section 8302 of title 41, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: (c) SPECIAL RULES. The following rules apply in carrying out the provisions of subsection (a):
      • (1) IRON AND STEEL MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES. For purposes of this section, manufactured articles, materials, and supplies of iron and steel are deemed manufactured in the United States only if all manufacturing processes involved in the production of such iron and steel, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurs in the United States.
      • (2) LIMITATION ON EXCEPTION FOR COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE OFF-THE-SHELF ITEMS. Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, including section 1907 of this title and the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the requirements of this section apply to all iron and steel articles, materials, and supplies..
  • (b) PRODUCTION OF IRON AND STEEL FOR PURPOSES OF CONTRACTS FOR PUBLIC WORKS. Section 8303 of title 41, United States Code, is amended (1) by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d); and (2) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection:
  • (c) SPECIAL RULES.
    • (1) PRODUCTION OF IRON AND STEEL. For purposes of this section, manufactured articles, materials, and supplies of iron and steel are deemed manufactured in the United States only if all manufacturing processes involved in the production of such iron and steel, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurs in the United States.
    • (2) LIMITATION ON EXCEPTION FOR COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE OFF-THE-SHELF ITEMS. Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, including section 1907 of this title and the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the requirements of this section apply to all iron and steel articles, materials, and supplies used in contracts described in subsection (a)..(c) ANNUAL REPORT. Subsection (b) of section 8302 of title 41, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
      • (b) REPORTS.
        • (1) IN GENERAL. Not later than 180 days after the end of the fiscal year during which the Build America, Buy America Act is enacted, and annually thereafter for 4 years, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services, shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Oversight and Reform of the House of Representatives a report on the total amount of acquisitions made by Federal agencies in the relevant fiscal year of articles, materials, or supplies acquired from entities that mine, produce, or manufacture the articles, materials, or supplies outside the United States.
        • (2) EXCEPTION FOR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. This subsection does not apply to acquisitions made by an agency, or component of an agency, that is an element of the intelligence community as specified in, or designated under, section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3003)..
  • (d) DEFINITION. Section 8301 of title 41, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: (3) FEDERAL AGENCY. The term Federal agency has the meaning given the term executive agency in section 133 of this title..
  • (e) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS. Title 41, United States Code, is amended
    • (1) in section 8302(a)
      • (A) in paragraph (1)
        • (i) by striking department or independent establishment and inserting Federal agency; and
        • (ii) by striking their acquisition to be inconsistent with the public interest or their cost to be unreasonable and inserting their acquisition to be inconsistent with the public interest, their cost to be unreasonable, or that the articles, materials, or supplies of the class or kind to be used, or the articles, materials, or supplies from which they are manufactured, are not mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available commercial quantities and of a satisfactory quality; and (B) in paragraph (2), by amending subparagraph (B) to read as follows:
      • (B) to any articles, materials, or supplies procured pursuant to a reciprocal defense procurement memorandum of understanding (as described in section 8304 of this title), or a trade agreement or least developed country designation described in subpart 25.400 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation; and; and
    • (2) in section 8303
      • (A) in subsection (b)
        • (i) by striking department or independent establishment each place it appears and inserting Federal agency;
        • (ii) by amending subparagraph (B) of paragraph
        • (1) to read as follows:
          • (B) to any articles, materials, or supplies procured pursuant to a reciprocal defense procurement memorandum of understanding (as described in section 8304), or a trade agreement or least developed country designation described in subpart 25.400 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation; and; and
        • (iii) in paragraph (3)
          • (I) in the heading, by striking INCONSISTENT WITH PUBLIC INTEREST and inserting WAIVER AUTHORITY; and
          • (II) by striking their purchase to be inconsistent with the public interest or their cost to be unreasonable and inserting their acquisition to be inconsistent with the public interest, their cost to be unreasonable, or that the articles, materials, or supplies of the class or kind to be used, or the articles, materials, or supplies from which they are manufactured, are not mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available commercial quantities and of a satisfactory quality; and
      • (B) in subsection (d), as redesignated by subsection(b)(1) of this section, by striking department, bureau, agency, or independent establishment each place it appears and inserting Federal agency.
  • (f) EXCLUSION FROM INFLATION ADJUSTMENT OF ACQUISITIONRELATED DOLLAR THRESHOLDS. Subparagraph (A) of section 1908(b)(2) of title 41, United States Code, is amended by striking chapter 67 and inserting chapters 67 and 83.

 

SEC. 70923. MADE IN AMERICA OFFICE.

  • (a) ESTABLISHMENT. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall establish within the Office of Management and Budget an office to be known as the Made in America Office. The head of the office shall be appointed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (in this section referred to as the Made in America Director).
  • (b) DUTIES. The Made in America Director shall have the following duties:
    • (1) Maximize and enforce compliance with domestic preference statutes.
    • (2) Develop and implement procedures to review waiver requests or inapplicability requests related to domestic preference statutes.
    • (3) Prepare the reports required under subsections (c) and (e).
    • (4) Ensure that Federal contracting personnel, financial assistance personnel, and non-Federal recipients are regularly trained on obligations under the Buy American Act and other agency-specific domestic preference statutes.
    • (5) Conduct the review of reciprocal defense agreements required under subsection (d).
    • (6) Ensure that Federal agencies, Federal financial assistance recipients, and the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership partner with each other to promote compliance with domestic preference statutes.
    • (7) Support executive branch efforts to develop and sustain a domestic supply base to meet Federal procurement requirements.
  • (c) OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET REPORT. Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, working through the Made in America Director, shall report to the relevant congressional committees on the extent to which, in each of the three fiscal years prior to the date of enactment of this Act, articles, materials, or supplies acquired by the Federal Government were mined, produced, or manufactured outside the United States. Such report shall include for each Federal agency the following:
    • (1) A summary of total procurement funds expended on articles, materials, and supplies mined, produced, or manufactured
      • (A) inside the United States;
      • (B) outside the United States; and
      • (C) outside the United States
        • (i) under each category of waiver under the Buy American Act;
        • (ii) under each category of exception under such chapter; and
        • (iii) for each country that mined, produced, or manufactured such articles, materials, and supplies.
    • (2) For each fiscal year covered by the report
      • (A) the dollar value of any articles, materials, or supplies that were mined, produced, or manufactured outside the United States, in the aggregate and by country;
      • (B) an itemized list of all waivers made under the Buy American Act with respect to articles, materials, or supplies, where available, and the country where such articles, materials, or supplies were mined, produced, or manufactured;
      • (C) if any articles, materials, or supplies were acquired from entities that mine, produce, or manufacture such articles, materials, or supplies outside the United States due to an exception (that is not the micro-purchase threshold exception described under section 8302(a)(2)(C) of title 41, United States Code), the specific exception that was used to purchase such articles, materials, or supplies; and (D) if any articles, materials, or supplies were acquired from entities that mine, produce, or manufacture such articles, materials, or supplies outside the United States pursuant to a reciprocal defense procurement memorandum of understanding (as described in section 8304 of title 41, United States Code), or a trade agreement or least developed country designation described in subpart 25.400 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, a citation to such memorandum of understanding, trade agreement, or designation.
    • (3) A description of the methods used by each Federal agency to calculate the percentage domestic content of articles, materials, and supplies mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States.
  • (d) REVIEW OF RECIPROCAL DEFENSE AGREEMENTS. (1) REVIEW OF PROCESS. Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Made in America Director shall review the Department of Defenses use of reciprocal defense agreements to determine if domestic entities have equal and proportional access and report the findings of the review to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State.
    • (2) REVIEW OF RECIPROCAL PROCUREMENT MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING. The Made in America Director shall review reciprocal procurement memoranda of understanding entered into after the date of the enactment of this Act between the Department of Defense and its counterparts in foreign governments to assess whether domestic entities will have equal and proportional access under the memoranda of understanding and report the findings of the review to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State.
  • (e) REPORT ON USE OF MADE IN AMERICA LAWS. The Made in America Director shall submit to the relevant congressional committees a summary of each report on the use of Made in America Laws received by the Made in America Director pursuant to section 11 of Executive Order 14005, dated January 25, 2021 (relating to ensuring the future is made in all of America by all of Americas workers) not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act or receipt of the reports required under section 11 of such Executive Order, whichever is later.
  • (f) DOMESTIC PREFERENCE STATUTE DEFINED. In this section, the term domestic preference statute means any of the following:
    • (1) the Buy American Act;
    • (2) a Buy America law (as that term is defined in section 70916(a));
    • (3) the Berry Amendment;
    • (4) section 604 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (6 U.S.C. 453b) (commonly referred to as the Kissell amendment);
    • (5) section 2533b of title 10 (commonly referred to as the specialty metals clause);
    • (6) laws requiring domestic preference for maritime transport, including the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 (Public Law 66261), commonly known as the Jones Act; and
    • (7) any other law, regulation, rule, or executive order relating to Federal financial assistance awards or Federal procurement, that requires, or provides a preference for, the purchase or acquisition of goods, products, or materials produced in the United States, including iron, steel, construction material, and manufactured goods offered in the United States.

 

SEC. 70924. HOLLINGS MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP ACTIVITIES.

  • (a) USE OF HOLLINGS MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP TO REFER NEW BUSINESSES TO CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES. The head of each Federal agency shall work with the Director of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, as necessary, to ensure businesses participating in this Partnership are aware of their contracting opportunities. (b) AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT IN GSA ADVANTAGE!. The Administrator of the General Services Administration and the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, shall jointly ensure that each business that participates in the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership is automatically enrolled in General Services Administration Advantage!.

 

SEC. 70925. UNITED STATES OBLIGATIONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS. 

This part, and the amendments made by this part, shall be applied in a manner consistent with United States obligations under international agreements.

 

SEC. 70926. DEFINITIONS. 

In this part: 

  1. (1) BERRY AMENDMENT. The term Berry Amendment means section 2533a of title 10, United States Code.
  2. (2) BUY AMERICAN ACT. The term Buy American Act means chapter 83 of title 41, United States Code.
  3. (3) FEDERAL AGENCY. The term Federal agency has the meaning given the term executive agency in section 133 of title 41, United States Code.
  4. (4) RELEVANT CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES. The term relevant congressional committees means
    1. (A) the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate; and
    2. (B) the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.
  5. (5) WAIVER. The term waiver, with respect to the acquisition of an article, material, or supply for public use, means the inapplicability of chapter 83 of title 41, United States Code, to the acquisition by reason of any of the following determinations under section 8302(a)(1) or 8303(b) of such title:
    1. (A) A determination by the head of the Federal agency concerned that the acquisition is inconsistent with the public interest.
    2. (B) A determination by the head of the Federal agency concerned that the cost of the acquisition is unreasonable.
    3. (C) A determination by the head of the Federal agency concerned that the article, material, or supply is not mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available commercial quantities of a satisfactory quality.

 

SEC. 70927. PROSPECTIVE AMENDMENTS TO INTERNAL CROSS-REFERENCES.

  • (a) SPECIALTY METALS CLAUSE REFERENCE.
  • Section 70923(f)(5) is amended by striking section 2533b and inserting section 4863.
  • (b) BERRY AMENDMENT REFERENCE. Section 70926(1) is amended by striking section 2533a and inserting section 4862.
  • (c) EFFECTIVE DATE. The amendments made by this section shall take effect on January 1, 2022.

 

SEC. 70931. SHORT TITLE. 

This subtitle may be cited as the BuyAmerican.gov Act of 2021.

 

SEC. 70932. DEFINITIONS.

In this subtitle:

  • (1) BUY AMERICAN LAW. The term Buy American law means any law, regulation, Executive order, or rule relating to Federal contracts, grants, or financial assistance that requires or provides a preference for the purchase or use of goods, products, or materials mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States, including
    • (A) chapter 83 of title 41, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Buy American Act);
    • (B) section 5323(j) of title 49, United States Code;
    • (C) section 313 of title 23, United States Code;
    • (D) section 50101 of title 49, United States Code;
    • (E) section 24405 of title 49, United States Code;
    • (F) section 608 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1388);
    • (G) section 1452(a)(4) of the Safe Drinking Water Act
      • (42 U.S.C. 300j12(a)(4));
    • (H) section 5035 of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (33 U.S.C. 3914);
    • (I) section 2533a of title 10, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Berry Amendment); and
    • (J) section 2533b of title 10, United States Code.
  • (2) EXECUTIVE AGENCY. The term executive agency has the meaning given the term agency in paragraph (1) of section 3502 of title 44, United States Code, except that it does not include an independent regulatory agency, as that term is defined in paragraph (5) of such section.
  • (3) BUY AMERICAN WAIVER. The term Buy American waiver refers to an exception to or waiver of any Buy American law, or the terms and conditions used by an agency in granting an exception to or waiver from Buy American laws.

 

SEC. 70933. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON BUYING AMERICAN. It is the sense of Congress that

  • (1) every executive agency should maximize, through terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards and Federal procurements, the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States and contracts for outsourced government service contracts to be performed by United States nationals;
  • (2) every executive agency should scrupulously monitor, enforce, and comply with Buy American laws, to the extent they apply, and minimize the use of waivers; and
  • (3) every executive agency should use available data to routinely audit its compliance with Buy American laws.

 

SEC. 70934. ASSESSMENT OF IMPACT OF FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS. 

Not later than 150 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall assess the impacts in a publicly available report of all United States free trade agreements, the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement, and Federal permitting processes on the operation of Buy American laws, including their impacts on the implementation of domestic procurement preferences.

 

SEC. 70935. JUDICIOUS USE OF WAIVERS.

  • (a) IN GENERAL. To the extent permitted by law, a Buy American waiver that is determined by an agency head or other relevant official to be in the public interest shall be construed to ensure the maximum utilization of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States.
  • (b) PUBLIC INTEREST WAIVER DETERMINATIONS. To the extent permitted by law, determination of public interest waivers shall be made by the head of the agency with the authority over the Federal financial assistance award or Federal procurement under consideration.

 

SEC. 70936. ESTABLISHMENT OF BUYAMERICAN.GOV WEBSITE.

  • (a) IN GENERAL. Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of General Services shall establish an Internet website with the address BuyAmerican.gov that will be publicly available and free to access. The website shall include information on all waivers of and exceptions to Buy American laws since the date of the enactment of this Act that have been requested, are under consideration, or have been granted by executive agencies and be designed to enable manufacturers and other interested parties to easily identify waivers. The website shall also include the results of routine audits to determine data errors and Buy American law violations after the award of a contract. The website shall provide publicly available contact information for the relevant contracting agencies.
  • (b) UTILIZATION OF EXISTING WEBSITE. The requirements of subsection (a) may be met by utilizing an existing website, provided that the address of that website is BuyAmerican.gov.

 

SEC. 70937. WAIVER TRANSPARENCY AND STREAMLINING FOR CONTRACTS.

  • (a) COLLECTION OF INFORMATION. The Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the heads of relevant agencies, shall develop a mechanism to collect information on requests to invoke a Buy American waiver for a Federal contract, utilizing existing reporting requirements whenever possible, for purposes of providing early notice of possible waivers via the website established under section 70936.
  • (b) WAIVER TRANSPARENCY AND STREAMLINING. (1) REQUIREMENT. Prior to granting a request to waive a Buy American law, the head of an executive agency shall submit a request to invoke a Buy American waiver to the Administrator of General Services, and the Administrator of General Services shall make the request available on or through the public website established under section 70936 for public comment for not less than 15 days.
    • (2) EXCEPTION. The requirement under paragraph (1) does not apply to a request for a Buy American waiver to satisfy an urgent contracting need in an unforeseen and exigent circumstance.
  • (c) INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO THE EXECUTIVE AGENCY CONCERNING THE REQUEST.
    • (1) REQUIREMENT. No Buy American waiver for purposes of awarding a contract may be granted if, in contravention of subsection (b)
      • (A) information about the waiver was not made available on the website under section 70936; or
      • (B) no opportunity for public comment concerning the request was granted.
    • (2) SCOPE. Information made available to the public concerning the request included on the website described in section 70936 shall properly and adequately document and justify the statutory basis cited for the requested waiver. Such information shall include
      • (A) a detailed justification for the use of goods, products, or materials mined, produced, or manufactured outside the United States;
      • (B) for requests citing unreasonable cost as the statutory basis of the waiver, a comparison of the cost of the domestic product to the cost of the foreign product or a comparison of the overall cost of the project with domestic products to the overall cost of the project with foreign origin products or services, pursuant to the requirements of the applicable Buy American law, except that publicly available cost comparison data may be provided in lieu of proprietary pricing information;
      • (C) for requests citing the public interest as the statutory basis for the waiver, a detailed written statement, which shall include all appropriate factors, such as potential obligations under international agreements, justifying why the requested waiver is in the public interest; and
      • (D) a certification that the procurement official or assistance recipient made a good faith effort to solicit bids for domestic products supported by terms included in requests for proposals, contracts, and nonproprietary communications with the prime contractor.
  • (d) NONAVAILABILITY WAIVERS.
    • (1) IN GENERAL. Except as provided under paragraph (2), for a request citing nonavailability as the statutory basis for a Buy American waiver, an executive agency shall provide an explanation of the procurement officials efforts to procure a product from a domestic source and the reasons why a domestic product was not available from a domestic source. Those explanations shall be made available on BuyAmerican.gov prior to the issuance of the waiver, and the agency shall consider public comments regarding the availability of the product before making a final determination.
    • (2) EXCEPTION. An explanation under paragraph (1) is not required for a product the nonavailability of which is established by law or regulation.

 

SEC. 70938. COMPTROLLER GENERAL REPORT.

Not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report describing the implementation of this subtitle, including recommendations for any legislation to improve the collection and reporting of information regarding waivers of and exceptions to Buy American laws.

 

SEC. 70939. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.

  • (a) DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS. Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as preempting, superseding, or otherwise affecting the application of any disclosure requirement or requirements otherwise provided by law or regulation.
  • (b) ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCCESSOR INFORMATION SYSTEMS. Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as preventing or otherwise limiting the ability of the Administrator of General Services to move the data required to be included on the website established under subsection (a) to a successor information system. Any such information system shall include a reference to BuyAmerican.gov.

 

SEC. 70940. CONSISTENCY WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS. 

This subtitle shall be applied in a manner consistent with United States obligations under international agreements.

 

SEC. 70941. PROSPECTIVE AMENDMENTS TO INTERNAL CROSS-REFERENCES.

  • (a) IN GENERAL. Section 70932(1) is amended
    • (1) in subparagraph (I), by striking section 2533a and inserting section 4862; and
    • (2) in subparagraph (J), by striking section 2533b and inserting section 4863.
  • (b) EFFECTIVE DATE. The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect on January 1, 2022.

BOND PROVISIONS

TITLE IV – BOND PROVISIONS

SEC. 80401. PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS FOR QUALIFIED BROADBAND PROJECTS.

  • (a) IN GENERAL.Section 142(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking or at the end of paragraph (14), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (15) and inserting , or, and by adding at the end the following new paragraph: (16) qualified broadband projects..
  • (b) QUALIFIED BROADBAND PROJECTS.Section 142 of such Code is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    • (n) QUALIFIED BROADBAND PROJECT.
      • (1) IN GENERAL.For purposes of subsection (a)(16), the term qualified broadband project means any project which
        • (A) is designed to provide broadband service solely to 1 or more census block groups in which more than 50 percent of residential households do not have access to fixed, terrestrial broadband service which delivers at least 25 megabits per second downstream and at least 3 megabits service upstream, and
        • (B) results in internet access to residential locations, commercial locations, or a combination of residential and commercial locations at speeds not less than 100 megabits per second for downloads and 20 megabits for second for uploads, but only if at least 90 percent of the locations provided such access under the project are locations where, before the project, a broadband service provider (i) did not provide service, or (ii) did not provide service meeting the minimum speed requirements described in subparagraph (A).
      • (2) NOTICE TO BROADBAND PROVIDERS.A project shall not be treated as a qualified broadband project unless, before the issue date of any issue the proceeds of which are to be used to fund the project, the issuer
        • (A) notifies each broadband service provider providing broadband service in the area within which broadband services are to be provided under the project of the project and its intended scope,
        • (B) includes in such notice a request for information from each such provider with respect to the providers ability to deploy, manage, and maintain a broadband network capable of providing gigabit capable Internet access to residential or commercial locations, and
        • (C) allows each such provider at least 90 days to respond to such notice and request..
  • (c) PARTIAL EXCEPTION FROM VOLUME CAP.
    • (1) IN GENERAL.Section 146(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking and at the end of paragraph (3), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (4) and inserting , and, and by inserting immediately after paragraph (4) the following new paragraph: (5) 75 percent of any exempt facility bond issued as part of an issue described in paragraph (16) of section 142(a) (relating to qualified broadband projects)..
    • (2) GOVERNMENT-OWNED PROJECTS.The last sentence of section 146(g) of such Code is amended by striking Paragraph (4) and inserting Paragraphs (4) and (5). (d) EFFECTIVE DATE.The amendments made by this section shall apply to obligations issued in calendar years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.