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Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Approves Bipartisan Proposals to Boost Broadband Infrastructure Deployment and Increase Spectrum Availability

Dec 2, 2015
Press Release
Members Advance ‘Dig-Once’ and Other Measures Aimed at Expanding Access to Wired and Mobile Broadband

WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today approved two bipartisan proposals aimed at improving access to wired and wireless broadband for all Americans. The subcommittee today advanced a legislative package to improve broadband infrastructure deployment and H.R. 1641, the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act.

The subcommittee first approved the legislative package to promote broadband infrastructure deployment, authored by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Walden, and subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA), which includes ‘dig-once’ legislation and other provisions to reduce barriers to deployment.

“Southwest Michigan needs broadband investment just like communities across the country. It is imperative that we make it easier for development in small towns like Dowagiac in my district so that our rural communities can continue to compete in the 21st Century global marketplace,” said Upton. “The broadband economy is our nation’s job creation engine, and we should be working to support it, not enacting laws and regulatory policies that hinder it. I hope that we can continue this bipartisan effort to help our nation’s communications networks thrive and lead our global economy.”

“My top priority is to make sure that this committee always puts consumers first. Today we are doing just that—we are working to upgrade America’s broadband.  Because of these bills, more people will have more access at faster speeds,” added Pallone.

“The United States is a world leader in broadband – both fixed and mobile. These two bills are commonsense legislation that will remove unnecessary barriers to increasing broadband deployment and improving Internet access in the home and on the go,” said Walden. “I am proud of this subcommittee’s work on these issues and the bipartisan cooperation we have enjoyed working together to improve broadband Internet access for all Americans.”

The subcommittee also advanced H.R. 1641, the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act, authored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), which aims to incentivize federal agencies to free up additional spectrum for commercial use by relocating and consolidating spectrum holdings in return for a portion of the auction revenues.

“Spectrum is an important and limited resource,” said Guthrie. “By encouraging federal agencies to make additional spectrum available, we can invest in innovation and ensure spectrum is available to meet the high demand for it in the marketplace. The results of the AWS-3 auction were unprecedented and give me confidence that the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act can build on this success to spur further economic growth. I applaud the passage of this bill today.”

“Spectrum is the invisible infrastructure of the 21st century economy,” said Matsui. “As we look to the deployment of next generation 5G wireless networks, we need an aggressive spectrum strategy so that the United States continues to lead the world in innovation. The Federal Spectrum Incentive Act is a creative approach to putting more spectrum in the pipeline, and its passage is an important step in the growth of our wireless economy.”  

Both proposals were approved by voice votes. Additional information about the bills can be found here.

To watch a webcast of the markup, click here.