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Broadband Bills Get D.C. Approval

The House Communications Subcommittee's bipartisan approval of a pair of broadband-boosting bills drew plaudits from various stakeholders Wednesday (Dec. 2).

“We applaud the bipartisan leadership...and the entire House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology for approving the legislative package that takes several steps to remove barriers to broadband deployment in the U.S.," said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association following the unanimous vote to refer the bills to full committee. "Broadband is a critical communications technology that all Americans deserve access to and we welcome these constructive, commonsense proposals."

“We thank [the subcommittee] for advancing today’s bills, including legislation to promote broadband infrastructure deployment," said Scott Belcher, CEO of the Telecommunications Industry Association. "According to some estimates, 90% of the cost of network installation results from digging up and repairing roadways to install conduit. The bill's 'dig once' provision will help ensure cost-efficient and timely broadband expansion to more Americans."

“Furthermore, providing incentives for the Federal government – the largest holder of spectrum – to make more spectrum available for non-Federal uses, such as mobile broadband services, is an important objective."

"The Federal Spectrum Incentive Act and Broadband Conduit Deployment Act help address our national spectrum crunch and provide innovators and consumers with access to robust broadband networks for years to come," said Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro. "By incentivizing federal agencies to vacate or share highly valuable spectrum they are not fully using, the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act, if made law, will free up more spectrum for commercial use. And the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act, a so-called 'dig once' policy, would make deploying wired broadband less expensive."

"We applaud Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and the Committee for their markups of these forward-looking bills, and look forward to their quick passage to ensure consumers have the broadband they need."

“Sprint commends the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee for today’s consideration of legislation that will encourage and facilitate network deployment on federal property and lands," the company said in a statement. "A streamlined process for wireless network expansion and enhancement will allow carriers to provide the broadband coverage and capacity customers demand in a more timely and efficient manner.”