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House Seeks Update on Broadband Buildout Streamlining

fiber optics
(Image credit: Carlos. E. Serrano/Getty Images)

A bipartisan group of House members wants the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review how interagency cooperation can speed broadband infrastructure buildouts and what progress agencies have made toward such productive cooperation.

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), the White House’s chief telecom advisory arm, has been given a prominent role in the Biden Administration's multi-billion dollar effort to subsidize universal broadband access.

Also Read: RAY BAUM‘s Act Passes House

Writing the GAO were House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.); and Communications Subcommittee chairman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and ranking member Bob Latta (R-Ohio).

They pointed out that RAY BAUM‘s Act directed the NTIA to facilitate broadband buildouts on federal property — the NTIA issued a report in October 2020 — as well as to work with the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Defense, and Transportation, the Office of Management and Budget, and the General Services Administration on ways to streamline siting permits.

They want the GAO to find out how those agencies plan to implement the recommendations in the 2020 report, how NTIA is overseeing federal agency coordination, what challenges they face in implementing the recommendations, and to what extent providers have been affected in areas where there has not been streamlining.