Hoeven: FCC Awards More Than $7.2 Million for Expanded Broadband Services in North Dakota

Senator Secured Strong Support for Rural Broadband as Chairman of Agriculture Appropriations, Sponsoring Legislation to Expand & Coordinate Broadband Infrastructure Investment

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has awarded more than $7.2 million to two telecommunication service providers in North Dakota under the Connect America Fund (CAF) to expand access to broadband in areas not already served. This includes more than $6 million for Midcontinent Communications and nearly $1.2 million for the BEK Communications Cooperative.

“Broadband services are a central part of modern life,” said Hoeven. “These funds will help expand broadband coverage in our state and will ensure residents in the newly served areas can access a wider variety of health care, education and commerce options. This comes as part of our continued efforts to support rural broadband development and make sure North Dakotans can continue to compete in the global economy.”

Hoeven serves as the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, where he works to support broadband deployment in rural and hard-to-serve areas. Earlier this month, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2019 agriculture funding legislation, which provides strong support for the rural broadband loan and grant pilot program. 

Hoeven has also reintroduced his Move America Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to help grow and repair the country’s infrastructure. Qualified projects include roads, bridges, transit, ports, rail, airports, water and sewer facilities and rural broadband. Further, the senator has introduced a bipartisan bill to create an Office of Rural Broadband at the FCC to ensure that all federal agencies with jurisdiction over rural broadband work together to maximize federal funding and coordinate efforts to improve and sustain broadband services in rural areas.

In addition, earlier this year, the FCC voted to increase funding for the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program, which helps rural health care providers and patients access quality health care through telecommunications and broadband services. Prior to this, Hoeven pressed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to increase the current funding cap to meet demand and account for future growth of the program.