Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss) and John Thune (R-S.D.), along with Representatives Cathy Morris Rodgers (R-Wash) and Robert Latta (R-Ohio) sent a letter to NTIA with several suggestions for implementation of the agency’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program:
-Provide an equal opportunity for all broadband providers to compete for grants, by not favoring any municipal, non-profit or cooperative networks, and not favoring one broadband technology over another.
-Use the FCC’s new broadband maps, rather than relying on other data sources.
-Follow the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) directions on eligible areas, to avoid overbuilding.
-Avoid unnecessary requirements, including net neutrality, labor regulations and rate regulation.
-Commit to transparency, by allowing public input and review on NTIA decisions.
These suggestions sound like common sense provisions to make the process more open, efficient and tax payer friendly. They do, however, bump up against issues such as net neutrality and special consideration for certain networks, which have long been cornerstones in our industry.
We will have to wait and see how NTIA responds.