Broadband Part of WH Meeting on Infrastructure

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In a meeting at the White House Tuesday, President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) agreed that broadband must be a part of any future infrastructure plan. Schumer said President Trump and Democrats agreed to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure over 25 years in a “constructive” meeting, reported CBS.

“Originally we had started a little lower, even the president was willing to push it up to $2 trillion,” said Schumer. 

“And that is a very good thing.”

But it remains to be seen whether Republican congressional leaders will go along with that amount.

Schumer and Pelosi said the roughly 90-minute meeting emphasized the importance of building up broadband, bridges and highways. They plan to meet again in three weeks on how to pay for it.

The wireless industry praised the discussion. USTelecom President/CEO Jonathan Spalter said any plan to rebuild infrastructure needs to have a commitment to broadband deployment in unserved areas. What’s needed is a bill, “that narrows the digital divide, supports broadband deployment, modernizes networks” and gets everyone connected, said Spalter. “Any infrastructure plan should future-proof new infrastructure with fiber capabilities so new technology can be integrated and modified as years go by.”

The Wireless Infrastructure Association called the talks “encouraging.” WIA is pleased that broadband infrastructure was part of today’s bipartisan discussion on a potential infrastructure proposal,” said WIA Acting Head of Government Affairs Matt Mandel. “WIA looks forward to working with Congress and the White House on this proposal so that the U.S. can win the global race to 5G.”

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association calls itself the voice of the fixed wireless broadband industry. While cost is always a concern for any legislation, the good news here is, for wireless broadband, taxpayers would not bear the burden, the association said after the meeting. “Fallow or underutilized spectrum can be identified expeditiously. Congress can do the right thing and recognize that spectrum is infrastructure, allowing innovative providers to access that resource and bring new services to the unserved and competition everywhere,” said WISPA President/CEO Claude Aiken. Comments? Email Us.     

May 1, 2019

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