House Legislators Call for Affordable Broadband Expansion

Friday, May 22nd
May 21, 2020
Lansing Project to Improve Service Reliability and Capacity for Ashe Members
May 21, 2020
House Legislators Call for Affordable Broadband Expansion


Today Rep. Ray Russell, three other House Democratic legislators, and a representative of towns and cities held a press conference to promote the expansion of affordable broadband.  Rep. Russell, along with Reps. Scott Brewer, Rachel Hunt, and Joe Sam Queen are the primary sponsors of HB 1122, Provide Affordable Broadband Access to NC.  The bill would:


  • Establish a $5 million Homework Grants pilot project;
  • Invest $85 million in the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program;
  • Expand health benefit coverage of telehealth services;
  • Allow local governments’ more authority to expand broadband to their citizens.


Legislators were joined by Mayor of Sylva and NC League of Municipalities Board member, Lynda Sossamon.


“Every corner of the state needs broadband,” said Rep. Russell. “Farmers need to buy and sell products. Senior citizens need connections to extended family. University and community college students need broadband access to complete their degree program.”


“COVID-19 has made very clear that we need better and more affordable broadband,” said Rep. Joe Sam Queen.  “It will create jobs, stronger small businesses, greater educational opportunities, and better tele-health services, particularly in the rural mountain communities I represent.”


“Every North Carolina child deserves the opportunity to learn,” said Rep. Rachel Hunt.  “Without better broadband service, remote learning is not happening and in the fall, many students will be left behind.”


“Small town job growth used to be tied to roads or railroads,” said Rep. Scott Brewer.  “Now a small business in Rockingham needs affordable, reliable Internet to access markets worldwide.”


“Local government leadership with public/private partnerships is essential to solving the broadband crisis,” said Sylva Mayor Lynda Sossamon.


House Bill 1122, Provide Affordable Broadband Access to NC, is eligible to be heard during the Short Session of the General Assembly.  The bill has 46 sponsors and co-sponsors.



Rep. Ray Russell (Ashe, Watauga) 828-773-6285 (cell)


Rep. Scott Brewer (Richmond, Montgomery, Stanly)


Rep. Rachel Hunt (Mecklenburg)


Rep. Joe Sam Queen (Jackson, Haywood, Swain)