Committee will introduce bills this week
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today published an op-ed that outlines the committee’s plan for introducing legislation to improve broadband infrastructure in rural America.
Read on, or click here to read the full op-ed on Medium.
“Building America’s 21st Century Broadband Infrastructure, It’s Time We All Got Connected”
The internet is an easy thing to take for granted, when you have it. You’re probably reading this op-ed online, and then you might check your email, read the news, or open a project for school or work. Despite how ubiquitous it seems in some parts of the country, 39 percent of Americans living in rural areas, or approximately 23 million people, lack sufficient access to high-speed broadband. That means a sizeable portion of the U.S., including in our districts in Oregon and Tennessee, is missing out on a transformative and necessary part of today’s economy. All Americans should be able to fully realize the opportunities made possible by broadband internet, like telemedicine, online education, and starting or growing a business. The Energy and Commerce Committee has already begun efforts on this front, and as we continue, we are glad to have an ally in President Trump, who understands the importance of expanding broadband infrastructure across the nation.
Last week, after the president signed two significant executive orders on improving broadband infrastructure, members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology introduced four resolutions laying out our principles for broadband expansion nationwide. The resolutions include prioritizing infrastructure funding to areas that are currently unserved, easing the regulatory process, ensuring coordination among all levels of government, and establishing clear, consistent rules regardless of broadband technology.
Introducing the resolutions was the first step in the larger legislative process to come. As we move forward, subcommittee members will be introducing a series of bills in the coming week reflecting these principles. The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold hearings in the near future to discuss these issues further.
The bills will be introduced in three buckets: removing barriers to infrastructure buildout, supporting innovation, and strengthening the public safety benefits that come with access to broadband internet.
Click here to read the full op-ed online.