Montana consistently ranks at the bottom of the country in Internet connectivity — that's inexcusable. There's no question that we can do better, and we must do better for the sake of our economy as a whole and those living in our rural communities who need broadband access to thrive in the 21st Century.
Rural Internet has become a necessity as many Montana families rely on it for telework, healthcare, and their children's education. It's time that Helena help deliver broadband to every corner of the state.
Fixing this issue is critical to Montana's future, which is why it's part of the "Roadmap to the Montana Comeback" laid out by Governor Gianforte. For years, Democrat policies have blocked any progress on this issue by way of Steve Bullock's veto pen.
But now, Republicans in Helena are unified in moving Montana forward. With the first Republican governor in 16 years, the legislature has the incredible opportunity to pass conservative legislation that will make a real impact on Montanans' lives for years to come.
Now we can pass conservative laws that will make a noticeable difference for Montanans by making the Treasure State competitive again. Cultivating a business-friendly environment in the last best place will modernize and grow our economy, allowing Montanans to reap the benefits of the private sector's efficiency, ingenuity and innovation.
That's why I'm sponsoring Senate Bill 51 — to ensure Montana's continuing prosperity by providing accessible and affordable broadband through property tax relief.
Greater broadband accessibility and affordability are vital to any competitive economy of the 21st Century. Montana's continuing prosperity relies upon its ability to embrace and adapt to accommodate modern economic and technological trends.
SB 51 welcomes telecom companies to deploy the last mile of Internet connections in the rural areas and communities that make Montana unique. Not only will the bill initially incentivize companies to build more broadband infrastructure across Montana, but SB 51 also provides long-term solutions by requiring companies to use their savings from the program in building out cables even further.
The high-tech sector is the fastest growing industry in Montana, and we must support this industry by passing Senate Bill 51. Providing rural broadband allows tech businesses to bring more good-paying jobs to our rural communities, revitalize local economies across the Treasure State, and enable all Montanans to enjoy reliable Internet access no matter where they live.
Senate Bill 51 will deliver rural Montana access to the same opportunities as the rest of the state, allow our entire state economy to evolve in the 21st Century, and boost all industries, from agriculture to high-tech, from Sula to Sidney.