NATaT Supports Initiatives to Accelerate Broadband Deployment
In 2016, there are communities and households in the U.S. that lack access to adequate broadband service, and a majority are located in rural America. In the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) 2016 Broadband Progress Report released in January 2016, the FCC states “[a] persistent urban-rural digital divide has left 39 percent of the rural population without access to fixed broadband. By comparison, only 4 percent living in urban areas lack access.” The Report concluded that “[w]hile the nation continues to make progress in broadband deployment, advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans.”
NATaT supports initiatives that will ensure equitable access to high speed and expandable / scalable broadband internet service to those areas that still lack access to this crucial resource. NATaT supports “dig once” initiatives in Congress that require conduit to be installed in any roadway construction project that uses federal funds (H.R. 3805, S. 2555, respectively*). This is but one solution to ensuring that broadband service is available to currently unserved and underserved areas. NATaT also supports Congressional efforts to increase federal funds for broadband deployment (H.R. 4160).
NATaT supports the efforts of the newly formed Rural Broadband Congressional Caucus launched by Representatives Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Bob Latta (R-OH), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Mark Pocan (D-MN), and Peter Welch (D-VT) to facilitate discussion, educate Members of Congress, and develop policy solutions to close the digital divide in rural America.
*“Dig once” provisions are included as an amendment to S. 2163, the MOBILE NOW Act, related to available spectrum. NATaT is not taking a position on spectrum, but supports the “dig once” amendment that is included in the committee-passed bill. While H.R. 3805 requires conduit installation, S. 2555 includes a “sense of Congress” that conduit should be installed in federal funded highway construction projects.
To learn more, download the full policy paper.