NCTA Praises Broadband Fund Coordination Effort

A bipartisan bill to coordinate the deployment of broadband deployment and funding to areas in need and reduce overbuilding. NCTA-The Internet & Television Association is definitely on board.

The Broadband Interagency Coordination Act is co-sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Related: Overbuilding Gets Rural Accent at Hill Hearing

The bill would direct the FCC, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the Department of Agriculture to "enter into a memorandum of understanding to coordinate the distribution of federal funds for broadband deployment." The legislators said that would reduce overbuilding and "ensure funds are targeted to unserved and underserved areas."

It would also make the FCC the primary repository for "storing or maintaining access to all broadband deployment data."

Related: NCTA Praises RUS Reforms in Farm Bill

Anything that will reduce the amount of federal funding going to subsidize competition to existing broadband service provided by private capital is definitely OK in NCTA's book.

"With the internet becoming such an essential part of our lives, ensuring that every American in every community has access to a robust broadband network is vitally important," said NCTA. "That is why NCTA and its member companies support government programs which provide funding to build these networks in unserved areas. But with up to three federal government agencies spending billions of dollars annually on these programs, real coordination and information sharing among these agencies is critical to ensure that funding is directed to where it is needed most, fund recipients are held accountable, and best practices are shared. We applaud Sens. Wicker and Klobuchar for introducing the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act of 2019, which seeks to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal broadband funding programs through better interagency coordination.”

“Senators Wicker and Klobuchar get what it takes to connect rural America,"said USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter. "Pushing more connectivity into unserved parts of America requires a smart and sustained partnership between government and broadband providers. It also requires that government funding is directed first to communities that remain on the wrong side of the digital divide. Requiring better coordination among agencies managing our finite federal broadband dollars is the definition of good government and will speed our shared mission of ensuring broadband reaches every home and business that still needs it.” 

John Eggerton

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.