President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, believes broadband deployment should be part of the new administration’s infrastructure plan. Testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Ross called such deployment “essential.”
“Broadband is to a very large degree, a path to the future and therefore it’s a very important component of economic policy altogether, including the infrastructure component,” reports Morning Consult.
USTelecom applauded Ross’ stance. Association President/CEO Jonathan Spalter called the comments appreciated and timely. “Our economy, our communities and our families increasingly rely on the vibrancy and growth of our nation’s broadband networks. We don’t have a moment to waste to ensure our government does everything in its power to advance opportunities for broadband access, investment and innovation.”
Touching on spectrum policy in general, Ross said he would push government agencies to release unused spectrum, which could “help extend broadband to more rural communities and other segments that are underserved.”
The Commerce Department has broad responsibilities relating to technology, including jurisdiction over the federal government’s spectrum.
Ross testified that in a “small way” he has broadband experience as vice chair of the Utilities Undergrounding Task Force where he lives in Southern Florida. “The Task Force is eager to move to fiber optics and telecommunications to our community. In order to do so the Task Force had to do it in way that was not damaging to the Everglades.”
Forbes notes that Ross made his fortune in blue-collar industries as a distressed asset investor and is worth an estimated $2.5 billion. If he wins Senate confirmation, he’d replace Hyatt heiress Penny Pritzker.
January 19, 2017