Brooks, Matsui Lead Bipartisan Legislation to Streamline Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure

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Washington, January 19, 2018 | comments

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Susan Brooks (R-IN05) and Doris Matsui (D-CA06), both members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, introduced H.R. 4847, the Broadband Deployment Streamlining Act, which aims to speed up the deployment of broadband infrastructure by reforming and improving the application process required to construct broadband infrastructure on federal lands and property. It makes reforms focused on expediting the process by which the federal government reviews applications.

“It is essential that Hoosiers and Americans across the country who live in rural communities have access to the internet, so they can live and prosper in the 21st century economy,” said Brooks. “In order to improve access to this type of connectivity in rural communities, we must do more to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure. The Broadband Deployment Streamlining Act works to improve the approval process within federal agencies to ensure installing communications technology is less burdensome and more efficient. This bill requires the GAO to conduct a report on the National Broadband Map so we can better identify communities that are unserved and under-served when it comes to internet connectivity. In doing so, this bill is a big step towards closing the digital divide so Americans are not left behind and have the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly connected world.”

“Continuing the deployment of next generation broadband networks in California and across the country is a critical component of narrowing the digital divide,” said Matsui. “Importantly, this legislation will provide federal agencies with the resources they need to process applications to expand broadband access more quickly. It will also review the National Broadband Map to examine whether it accurately reflects the broadband services currently available to consumers and whether additional steps can be taken to ensure it is complete and reliable. It’s an important step towards facilitating the expansion of affordable, reliable broadband access and next generation services and networks.”


The Broadband Deployment Streamlining Act requires relevant federal agencies to streamline their processes for reviewing applications for constructing or modifying broadband facilities, standardizes those rules across all sub-departments and ensures all applications are reviewed on a tech-neutral, non-discriminatory basis.

Specifically, the Broadband Deployment Streamlining Act:

  • requires procedures to be established for tracking applications, monitoring the time between receipt and final decision, and reasons for denial;
  • bases application fees that applicants pay to the designated federal agency on the actual costs of review and maintenance of that application;
  • requires that executive agencies act on siting requests with 270 days; and
  • preserves agency obligations to follow applicable environmental laws.

This bill also includes a provision which requires a GAO report on the National Broadband Map evaluating a number of things including data collection techniques, extent to which agencies rely on the Map when distributing grants or loans for broadband projects, and questions related to mapping accuracy.


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