House GOP Leaders Seek NTIA Oversight Hearing
Cite billions in broadband subsidies and spectrum management issues that need vetting
House Republicans are urging Democrats in control of the chamber to hold what they said is a long-overdue oversight hearing of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.
NTIA will be overseeing billions of dollars in new broadband spending and is the Administration's voice in debates over how spectrum should be reclaimed/shared for 5G. NTIA oversees government spectrum users.
In a letter to House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Communications Subcommittee chair Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), the ranking member of the committee and subcommittee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio) pointed out that there has been no oversight hearing since the 115th Congress (it is currently the 117th Congress).
Also: NTIA Seeks Comment on Handing Out Broadband Billions
"Given the new programs established across the federal government that provide hundreds of billions of dollars that can be used to support broadband access—including at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Federal Communications Commission—it is imperative that we understand how NTIA plans to track and coordinate these programs effectively," they said.
Republicans are worried, among other things, about the waste funding duplication, potential fraud and abuse, and government subsidized overbuilding of existing commercial providers.
They also point out that there continue to be disputes among federal agencies and commercial industry over spectrum. Most notably, though they do not identify any particular disputes, the current one over C-Band spectrum users potential interference to aviation systems.
"These decisions [about spectrum use] will only become more difficult as we work to make the United States a leader in next-generation technologies," they said. "Congress tasked NTIA to establish a spectrum information technology modernization plan to improve these spectrum management activities, and we need to hear from the Biden Administration about its progress on implementation." ■
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.