In today's competitive marketplace consumers are not limited to the shops down the corner. With the click of a mouse, they now have access to goods and services from Main Streets around the world. To remain competitive and bring the global market within their reach, high-speed internet is a vital tool for small businesses.
The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship is working to ensure that all small firms have access to broadband technologies - including those in hard-to-reach rural areas where only about 25 percent of households using the internet have high-speed access, compared to more than 40 percent in urban areas.
Senator Landrieu kicked off the 111th Congress and her chairmanship on the Small Business Committee by urging the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture and the Federal Communication Commission to use the Recovery Act's more than $3 billion in broadband-related funds toward expanding access to advanced telecommunications technology to America's unserved, underserved and rural areas. Bringing such funds to these populations will help small firms compete in the global marketplace by improving efficiency, lowering costs and reducing geographic barriers to commerce. The Department of Commerce has since appropriated those funds as Sen. Landrieu requested and they are taking applications for their Broadband Technologies Opportunities grant programs. Sen. Landrieu is also fighting for small businesses, including minority and disadvantaged businesses, to have access to these contracting opportunities.
Sen. Landrieu has been a long-time advocate for the expansion of broadband technology and co-sponsored the Broadband Data Improvement Act that became law in October 2008. This law encourages the deployment of high-speed Internet access to areas that need it most, notably rural communities. The bill also authorized the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy to do a 2-year report on broadband access and affordability for small businesses. The Committee is monitoring the progress of this report and continues to act as a strong advocate for small businesses looking to grow with the help of advanced technology.
Please check our Resources page to learn about the Department of Commerce's Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program and more.
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