LINCOLN, Neb. -- Gov. Pete Ricketts officially signed into law a bill designed to expand broadband access to thousands of Nebraskans.
Gov. Pete Ricketts signed LB388 at a ceremony on Wednesday.
The bill provides $20 million in matching grants annually to expand access to high-speed broadband across Nebraska. LB 388 was introduced by Senator Curt Friesen of Henderson at the request of Gov. Ricketts and prioritized by Speaker Mike Hilgers of Lincoln. It passed final reading with a 49-0 vote.
“In our digital world, high-speed broadband internet is basic infrastructure we need to grow our entire state,” said Gov. Ricketts. “LB 388 expands quality broadband internet so that more Nebraskans can work from home, participate in remote education, access telehealth services, engage in e-commerce, and enjoy online entertainment. Thank you to the Legislature for helping to grow Nebraska by investing in our broadband infrastructure.”
LB 388 will bring fast, reliable broadband connectivity to an expected 30,000 households. Broadband networks funded by LB 388 will be built to upload and download speeds of 100 Mbps, which is much faster than the current minimum standard of 25/3 Mbps set by the Federal Communications Commission.
Last year, the State directed $29.5 million of federal coronavirus assistance into the Rural Broadband Remote Access Grant Program to help bring better broadband to Nebraskans as many services moved to virtual platforms during the pandemic.