Wicker joins other Congressional leaders to share broadband priorities with Sec. of Commerce

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., joined in a letter Tuesday to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson naming the legislators’ priorities for implementation of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA’s) Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) broadband programs.

Along with Wicker, who is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, other letter sponsors are Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Robert Latta, R-Ohio, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

The legislators call on the NTIA to:

  • Commit to using the FCC’s new broadband maps, once challenges are resolved, for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program and not rely on other data sources to supplement or substitute these maps;
  • Follow the IIJA’s directions on eligible project areas to avoid overbuilding;
  • Provide an equal opportunity for all broadband providers to compete for grants by not prioritizing municipal networks or networks run by nonprofits or cooperatives, and not favoring certain broadband technologies over others;
  • Avoid unnecessary requirements, such as net neutrality, burdensome labor regulations, and rate regulation;
  • Commit to transparency by allowing the public to provide input and review how the agency arrives at its decisions.

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The legislators seek to ensure the money distributed will go to unserved and underserved communities, and that NTIA will protect against waste, fraud and abuse.

Read the letter here.