Over the last three decades, private sector investment in communications networks, particularly broadband, have helped transform the way that people work, learn, interact with their doctors and the healthcare system, and communicate with friends and family.
Still, over 18 million Americans lack access to high-speed broadband and others, due in part to COVID-19, are struggling to adopt internet access even when available.
To connect all Americans, the Chamber recommends:
- Targeted funding to increase access for unserved Americans without access to broadband in areas where deployment is cost prohibitive.
- Permit Streamlining: Without a functional permitting regime, funding for broadband can only go so far. The Chamber supports reauthorizing FAST-41 and NEPA reform on a broader level. At the same time, state and local governments should be prohibited from dragging out decisions for applications as well as charging unreasonable and excessive fees.
- Smart Regulation: Congress should not apply regulatory frameworks from the turn of the 20th century to modern technology like the internet. The FCC should treat broadband as an essential service, not a public utility. The Commission should continue to embrace economic analysis. Finally, the federal government must develop a comprehensive, unified, spectrum management plan and examine how to remove regulatory barriers to the deployment of emerging technologies like the Internet of Things.