By T. Scott Boatright
Broadband internet access could become easier to find in the future thanks to ongoing discussion in the Louisiana legislative session.
LSU’s Manship School News Service said that a bill to establish a grant program to create broadband access for state communities passed through a Senate committee on Wednesday.
If fully passed, the Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) program plans to use more than $180 million in federal funds to provide broadband and internet access to 400,000 households in Louisiana.
The FCC released the Emergency Broadband Benefit Fund in early May, and it will give eligible low-income households stipends for monthly internet fees. Since last year the Louisiana Legislature has created a Louisiana Office of Broadband and Connectivity while also granting tax-exemptions on broadband equipment and supplies.
Private and public service providers would apply to the GUMBO program to receive funding for the creation of broadband infrastructure in unserved communities around the state.
Earlier this month Ruston’s Board of Aldermen passed a motion to hire a national consulting firm to continue moving forward with the potential project that if it works out could offer internet service for city Ruston residents and businesses.