From COVID relief to budget decisions, take bold and decisive action to finish the job of connecting every American home, business and anchor institution to U.S. broadband infrastructure. Particularly amid a global pandemic, the fact that an estimated 18 million Americans do not have broadband access is unacceptable. Working together—public resources alongside private expertise, technology and networks—this is the most solvable of our nation’s leading challenges.
Resources + political will = universal connectivity.
Specific 100-Days Actions
- Advance legislation to rapidly and fully invest in the broadband infrastructure programs required to quickly and permanently close the digital divide in America. USTelecom members are ready to immediately go to work with government partners to build these networks, including fiber investment deeper into all corners of America.
- Fund the Broadband Data Act so the FCC can promptly map every home and business without broadband to ensure finite taxpayer resources are targeted efficiently and quickly.
- Ensure the broadband workforce continues to be designated as essential workers with ready and reliable access to PPE so they can safely do their jobs keeping the country connected.
- Move quickly to address antiquated policies that create barriers to broadband deployment and industry competition. From expedited permitting, to lifting mandates that require companies to sustain outdated networks rather than devote more resources to deploying next-generation networks, to rooting-out discriminatory pole attachment rates, all policies should be viewed with an eye toward removing barriers that impede getting broadband to everyone.
- Signal a clear and collaborative infrastructure policy course that encourages all to invest with confidence in the nation’s broadband future.
- Decisively reject any proposal that would treat broadband networks like a government utility. The coronavirus has challenged networks with unprecedented demand—and our members have risen to the challenge. Our nation’s recovery requires that we sustain and encourage this outstanding performance, not put it at risk under the heavy weight of bureaucracy and red tape.
- Immediately halt DOD plans to establish its own commercial 5G network or select a single gatekeeper for its communications. Rather than working at odds with our nation’s facilities-based broadband partners—which have the unique financial, operating and technical wherewithal, the vast fiber-based plant, and the needed economies of scale to get the job done—continue to work shoulder to shoulder with us to advance our nation’s security and prosperity by quickly repurposing for consumer use as much government spectrum as possible through battle-tested, innovative auction processes led by the FCC.
THE BOTTOM LINE for First 100 Days Building Our Connected Future:
Broadband—and the work, investment and know-how of the companies providing it—has never been more important. Jonathan Spalter