On Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) announced the BOOST Act to bring broadband to underserved areas of Michigan, reported the Midland Daily News. BOOST stands for “Broadening Online Opportunities through Simple Technologies.” It would provide rural homeowners and primary lessees with a refundable consumer tax credit of up to $300, assisting residents in purchasing a mobile hotspot or booster to increase broadband speeds.
“The [COVID-19] pandemic has really revealed the challenges faced by communities that don’t have good access to the internet, and our rural communities have been affected significantly by this,” Moolenaar said. “I view broadband internet access as vital infrastructure, and I believe we have the opportunity to create a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who will see the benefit for their state and districts.”
According to the Senator, the legislation will be formally filed in the House this week and will be “tech neutral.” This means residents can purchase all technology proven to increase data speeds, including wireless and optical fiber options, reported the News.
BOOST will cover areas not currently eligible under other federal broadband programs. Eligibility for the credit is determined by the areas outlined in the first two phases of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. According to the News, credits will last until fiber obligations are met, or until the five-year sunset date, whichever comes first.