Wireless stakeholders have been hoping and now President Donald Trump has confirmed that expanded access to broadband internet service in rural areas will be part of the $1 trillion infrastructure proposal he will send to Congress. “You’ll be seeing it very shortly,” he said Wednesday evening in Cedar Rapids, IA.
His plan to use $200 billion in federal funds to prompt investment in national infrastructure has spurred rural groups to seek broadband inclusion, Inside Towers reported. Previous administrations ensured rural areas were electrified and received water upgrade projects to bring them in line with their suburban and urban peers, noted lawmakers at a House Communications Subcommittee hearing on rural broadband earlier this week. Their point was rural America should have access to high-speed internet too.
The White House has been holding meetings this week with tech company executives, including those from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon about infrastructure, IoT, 5G and drones, to name a few topics. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he participated in meetings about 5G and IoT yesterday morning before the agency’s monthly open meeting.
Pai told reporters after the Commission meeting, he’s excited about what the administration’s plan could mean. “There are a lot of Americans on the wrong side of the digital divide and I think the President’s announcement and the willingness of other agencies to work together could go a long way towards solving that problem.” The White House and Congress will structure the plan and the FCC “will dutifully administer it,” he said, adding he hopes any funding would be channeled through existing FCC mechanisms.
June 23, 2017