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House Looks Into Lowering Broadband Barriers

The House Communications Subcommittee will hold a hearing March 21 on how to eliminate barriers to broadband infrastructure.

On the agenda is a draft bill, "Broadband: Deploying America’s 21st Century Infrastructure," to streamline permitting and siting at the federal level.

"Broadband is a necessity for business in the 21st century and its time our policies reflect that," said Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). "In fact, many communities across the country would rather have better access to broadband than an additional lane on a highway. For too long problems with permitting and siting have held back further investment in expanding broadband infrastructure across the country," she said in announcing the hearing. "Constituents and businesses back in Tennessee consistently have issues gaining access to broadband. And without a high-speed internet connection, it remains difficult to attract businesses and jobs to these rural areas."

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is on a road trip this week talking up the impact on broadband connectivity to the economy. Pai has also been a strong supporter of reducing the barriers to broadband deployment, including by easing rights of way and speeding permitting.