Senator Wicker among leaders naming priorities for implementation of the NTIA’s Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) broadband programs.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) along with U.S. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Robert Latta (R-OH) sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson naming their priorities for implementation of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA’s) Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) broadband programs.

“The United States faces a persistent digital divide. Millions of Americans continue to lack access to high-speed broadband and are unable to participate in the digital economy. To attempt to address this problem, Congress provided $65 billion in funding for broadband as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA),” the lawmakers wrote.

“The IIJA included provisions requiring the use of accurate maps, preventing overbuilding, and prohibiting rate regulation and other unnecessary and burdensome requirements on providers receiving funds. We write to share our priorities for how NTIA should implement and further strengthen the integrity of these programs,” the lawmakers continued.

The legislators call on the NTIA to:

  • Commit to using the FCC’s new broadband maps, once challenges are resolved, for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program and not rely on other data sources to supplement or substitute these maps;
  • Follow the IIJA’s directions on eligible project areas to avoid overbuilding;
  • Provide an equal opportunity for all broadband providers to compete for grants by not prioritizing municipal networks or networks run by nonprofits or cooperatives, and not favoring certain broadband technologies over others;
  • Avoid unnecessary requirements, such as net neutrality, burdensome labor regulations, and rate regulation;
  • Commit to transparency by allowing the public to provide input and review how the agency arrives at its decisions.

You can read the full letter to Assistant Secretary Davidson below.

Senate and House Committee leaders’ letter to NTIA by yallpolitics on Scribd