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Rep. Scott Tipton backs regulatory exemptions for small Internet providers

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U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez is supporting a bill that lands close to home for rural Colorado: a fast connection to the world wide web.

Tipton, a Republican, backs the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, introduced last week by Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon. The U.S. House passed the bill unanimously to the Senate on a voice vote Tuesday.

According to the bill, its purpose is to “ensure that small business providers of broadband Internet access service can devote resources to broadband deployment rather than compliance with cumbersome regulatory requirements.”

It extends a five-year exemption on some regulatory disclosure requirements for small internet service providers for another five years. It also redefines “small” as 250,000 subscribers, instead of 100,000 in the previous exemption.

“Having a reliable and fast broadband connection is critical for education and commerce in our rural communities. Without this reliability, small businesses can’t compete and students can’t access the resources that are vital for their academic growth and lifelong success,” Tipton said in a statement.

“Extending the exemption for five years will be important for protecting our small providers from overly burdensome, one-size-fits-all regulations, but we must continue to work towards a permanent solution to this problem.”

Tipton’s office noted that last March, he held a small business roundtable in Durango, with high-speed internet as the main concern. He also has spoken in favor of regulatory reforms that would expand access to broadband in rural areas.

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