Tester Leads Bipartisan Bill to Increase Transparency in Broadband Supply Chain, Boost Rural Internet Access

Bipartisan NET Act aims to ensure on-time rollout of federal broadband programs

Today, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) reintroduced the bipartisan Network Equipment Transparency (NET) Act, legislation that would monitor the telecommunications supply chain and identify disruptions that might impact the roll-out of internet infrastructure deployments as part of their continued efforts to strengthen internet access in rural communities. 

“As a third-generation farmer living in rural Montana, I know firsthand the challenges our rural communities face when it comes to reliable internet access,” said Tester. “That’s why I worked with folks on both sides of the aisle to craft the bipartisan infrastructure law which will bring high-speed internet to every corner of Montana. Now I’m leading the charge alongside my colleagues to increase transparency and address any supply chain issues head-on so that these projects get done on time, because Montana’s small businesses and rural families can’t wait any longer.”

The bipartisan NET Act will increase broadband supply chain transparency through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by identifying and addressing any supply chain issues that might delay broadband buildouts. The bill would require the FCC’s Communications Marketplace Report to describe to Congress the impact of supply chain disruptions on the timely completion or deployment of broadband deployment projects.

Tester worked across the aisle for months to negotiate the IIJA with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats, and the White House. Tester’s law is projected to create more than 800,000 American jobs and lower costs for businesses by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes on working families.

Tester secured significant wins for Montana in the legislation, including $65 billion to deploy broadband to areas across the country that lack internet access and additionally make online connectivity affordable. A full list of Montana provisions in Tester’s bipartisan infrastructure law can be found HERE.

The senators originally introduced the NET Act in the 117th Congress last February, and the bill passed the Commerce Committee in a unanimous vote last May.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.