E&C Republicans to NTIA: By Allowing States to Regulate Broadband Rates, NTIA is Ignoring Congressional Intent

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), along with 14 other committee Republicans, sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson raising concerns that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is allowing states to regulate broadband rates under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program and ignoring congressional intent.   


“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which created the BEAD Program, explicitly prohibits the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and the NTIA from ‘regulat[ing] the rates charged for broadband service.’ During Senate floor debate on this legislation, members of Congress agreed that this language meant that ‘no rate regulation of broadband services would be authorized or permitted by NTIA or the Assistant Secretary who leads NTIA as part of the state broadband grant program.’ 

“Based on your testimony, it appears that you are planning to ignore this Congressional direction... you did not foreclose approval of state plans that regulated rates of broadband service. Indeed, when directly asked, ‘Will NTIA permit a state to rate regulate, yes or no,’ you did not provide a yes or no answer and instead stated that NTIA would give states flexibility on how to approach this issue. This ‘flexibility’ to pursue rate regulation is not only concerning, but is strictly prohibited.” 


  • At a December 5 hearing held by the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Assistant Secretary Davidson repeatedly suggested that NTIA would permit rate regulation by states participating in the BEAD program. 
  • Last week, NTIA followed through on those suggestions by approving Louisiana’s Initial Proposal for BEAD, in which the state sets rates for certain broadband plans. 
  • Assistant Secretary Davidson’s testimony, along with the approval of Louisiana’s proposal, raise serious concerns that NTIA is ignoring Congressional direction and may continue approving proposals that directly regulate the rate of broadband service. 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to NTIA.