House Lawmakers Consider Broadband Central to Infrastructure

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology introduced a series of resolutions, laying out principles for broadband infrastructure. By removing barriers to buildout, supporting innovation, and focusing on communities that need it most; these four resolutions set the groundwork for a larger legislative process, according to lawmakers. (The resolutions had not been assigned numbers at press time.)

  • H. Res __ introduced by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Leonard Lance (R-NJ), to direct broadband infrastructure funding toward areas that are currently unserved.
  • H. Res __ introduced by Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH), to ensure federal policy treats all broadband providers in a technology-neutral manner, applying consistent rules that support innovation.
  • H. Res __ introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), to ensure wireless broadband infrastructure funding preference for states that support small cell siting reform, helping ease the permitting process in communities across the country.  
  • H. Res __ introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), to ensure federal, state, and local tax, regulatory, permitting, and other requirements are coordinated and reconciled to maximize the benefits of broadband investment.

“With 39 percent of rural Americans living with insufficient access to broadband internet, we need to focus on innovation, investment, and eliminating the barriers to deployment,” said Chair Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “Our work on broadband infrastructure could mean the difference between a child completing her homework at home, and her parents driving out to a library so she can connect to the public WiFi.”

In response, USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter said the action “sends a clear message that broadband is central to our nation’s infrastructure. These ‘broadband first’ resolutions will pave the way to efficient and effective broadband deployment – the backbone of all communications from ground to cloud to 5G and beyond.”

NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association, praised the move as well. Association CEO Shirley Bloomfield called the resolutions “a further catalyst in the rapidly evolving conversation regarding how best to promote access to broadband. The ultimate touchstones in any infrastructure discussion must be both how we can build these assets in the first instance and how we can make sure these investments are sustainable for the benefit of the consumers and businesses that will depend upon them for years to come.”

Matt Mandel, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Wireless Infrastructure Association, said WIA is glad the committee continues to focus “on the vital role wireless infrastructure plays in our nation’s economy. We look forward to working with committee members to ensure that 5G is responsibly deployed to all communities.” 

CTIA SVP Government Affairs Kelly Cole stated: “CTIA applauds Representative Hudson’s 5G small cell resolution which provides a vital blueprint for accelerating investment and creating new jobs in U.S. broadband infrastructure.”

January 12, 2018

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