Assistant Secretary Redl at the witness table as members give their opening statements
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), held a hearing today continuing its oversight role of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
Chairman Blackburn spoke to the need to maintain America’s status as a global leader in wireless technologies, stating, “Around the world, countries are racing to be the first to 5G. To be competitive, the United States will need to continually make available the spectrum needed to build out these networks. It seems NTIA is hard at work identifying bands that could be freed up for the commercial use, especially with the recent announcement of 100MHz that you’ve identified as a candidate band. We fully recognize the challenge of balancing the need for more spectrum with the significant national security and public safety issues associated with clearing bands.”
In his opening remarks, full Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) stressed the importance of accurate broadband mapping in efforts to expand broadband internet access, commenting, “As you all will recall, this Committee held a hearing on broadband mapping last June to discuss how we can better define and map granular broadband coverage. One of the proposals that flowed from that is Congressman Johnson’s H.R. 4810, with support from Congressman Guthrie, that gets things moving again at NTIA. I’m pleased that those efforts have already yielded some progress as the Administration is asking our friends at the Appropriations Committee for $50 million for NTIA to get back in this space. The last time policymakers moved ahead without adequate mapping, we spent billions of dollars and didn’t ever have a sense of what we got for it. This time around, we are going to get the mapping right. It is critical.”
David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce, provided an update on how NTIA will facilitate a successful nationwide transition to Next-Generation 9-1-1 services, stating, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NTIA have been working over the last year to put together a grant program that was envisioned by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. We are in the final stages of coordinating that process through the executive branch. We are optimistic that we’ll be able to have those grants out to companies and groups that are working on 9-1-1 policy by the end of this calendar year. We’re really excited about moving forward on this. I believe it’s $115 million that was allocated for this purpose, and we’re getting ready to do the grant program that Congress asked us to do.”
For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click here.