Press Release

#SubCommTech Introduces Bills on Broadband Infrastructure and Innovation


01.17.18

WASHINGTON, DC – Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced today that a second round of broadband infrastructure bills have been introduced by #SubCommTech members. The bills focus on supporting innovation and advancing broadband infrastructure in rural communities.

H.R. 4810, “Making Available Plans to Promote Investment in Next Generation Networks without Overbuilding and Waste (MAPPING NOW) Act,” sponsored by Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY)

  • The bill would direct the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information to conduct a National Broadband Map.
  • The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was previously charged with conducting the National Broadband Map via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and this will reassert its authority.
  • An accurate map of broadband availability is an important precursor to ensure that scarce infrastructure funds are targeted to those rural areas most in need.  This legislation will initiate the process on how best to develop the National Broadband Map.

H.R. 4817, “Promoting Exchanges for Enhanced Routing of Information so Networks are Great (PEERING) Act,” sponsored by Representative Billy Long (R-MO)

  • Internet Exchanges (or peering centers) are the physical locations where networks come together, and where content providers cache content closer to end users to increase speed and efficiency of networks.
  • The bill would authorize a matching a grant program through the NTIA to promote peering centers where none exist, or to help an existing one expand if it is the only such facility in a core-based statistical area.
  • The bill would also authorize eligible recipients under the Universal Service Fund’s E-Rate program and Telehealth program to use such funds to contract with a broadband provider to obtain a connection to a peering facility, or to pay costs of maintaining a point of presence at a peering facility.

H.R. 4813, “Wireless Internet Focus on Innovation in Spectrum Technology for Unlicensed Deployment (WIFI STUDy) Act,” sponsored by Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA)

  • The bill would direct the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the complementary role of unlicensed spectrum in assisting with internet traffic management, and the potential for gigabit WiFi service in spectrum bands below 6 gigahertz.

“The legislation put forward today by my colleagues will encourage innovation, growth, and prosperity in rural communities across the country. We’re establishing a clear, consistent framework for broadband technologies to flourish, ensuring that government is not picking winners and losers. These bills help unleash innovation and create a connected, resilient internet in unserved areas,” said Chairman Blackburn.

Click here for more on the legislation introduced yesterday aimed at reducing the regulatory barriers to broadband infrastructure expansion.

Click here to read an op-ed penned by Chairman Blackburn and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), “Building America’s 21st Century Broadband Infrastructure: It’s Time We All Got Connected.”

Press Release