Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo today released a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report showing that small businesses operating in areas with federally-funded broadband networks experienced higher quality networks at lower costs, faster and more reliable connections, as well as improved efficiency and streamlined operations through the use of bandwidth-intensive services like video-conferencing and teleworking. The report examined broadband programs funded through the Recovery Act and other federal programs such as the Community Connect Grants, the Connect America Fund, and the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee programs.
"GAO's investigation confirms the success of the Recovery Act's broadband programs," said Rep. Waxman. "In rural and urban areas across the country, small businesses are benefitting from higher speeds and lower prices thanks to federal investment in this essential infrastructure. Expanding broadband access and quality is critical for American competiveness in the 21st century global economy. These were public dollars well spent."
"In the information economy, high speed internet access is essential to creating jobs and unleashing the full potential of our small businesses. Democrats have long recognized this fact, and our 2007 Innovation Agenda pointed the way for communities nationwide. Our investments in our broadband infrastructure have not just delivered quicker, cheaper, more reliable service, they have opened new economic opportunity for businesses and people," said Leader Pelosi. "Rebuilding America's infrastructure creates jobs today, and lays the foundation for a stronger, more prosperous tomorrow. Today, GAO has highlighted exciting success stories--that can and must be replicated and expanded across America."
"This GAO report confirms that when it comes to closing our digital divide, federal investment in broadband deployment has been pivotal to the success of America's small businesses," said Rep. Eshoo. "Affordable broadband access allows small businesses to operate more efficiently, retain a talented workforce, and improve services to their customers. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and when they thrive, our economy thrives."