Legislation introduced Monday by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) would promote broadband deployment by providing tax incentives to companies that build out broadband network infrastructure in rural, low-income, and other underserved areas.
The Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act corresponds with companion legislation unveiled in the Senate last month by Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV). Like the Capito bill, the GO Act would allow companies to defer certain capital gains taxes when such gains are converted into long-term investments in broadband infrastructure within state-designated “Gigabit Opportunity Zones.” As stated in a press release issued by Collins, the GO ACT would also “encourage market competition by enabling companies expanding infrastructure into Gigabit Opportunity Zones to expense the cost of any gigabit-capable equipment on the front end.” The Capito bill, meanwhile, would also (1) facilitate the process by which states may issue tax-exempt bonds to companies that build broadband network infrastructure in Gigabit Opportunity Zones, and (2) direct the FCC to enact a policy framework that encourages states and local municipalities to streamline their broadband laws.
Lamenting that “countless communities . . . across the country have seen their growth stalled by a lack of meaningful broadband access,” Collins stressed that his goal in introducing the GO Act is “to increase broadband investment in rural America through smarter, simpler policies based on market competition.” As Collins further noted that his bill “dovetails” with recent FCC efforts to streamline the agency’s broadband regulations, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai thanked Collins for his leadership on the issue, observing that, “having just traveled across five Midwestern and Northern Plains states, I can tell you that much of rural America is on the wrong side of the digital divide.”