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Perspectives: FCC’s Pai on Broadband Infrastructure

From FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s speech to Carnegie Mellon University: Recently, the president proposed that Congress pass a major bill to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure. I support the president’s bold vision on this issue. In the digital age, I believe our wired and wireless broadband networks are core components of our nation’s infrastructure. That’s why my position is clear: If Congress moves forward with a major infrastructure package, broadband should be included.

Now that raises the important question of how those investments should be made. And on this topic, I have a couple of ideas.

First, any direct funding for broadband infrastructure appropriated by Congress as part of a larger infrastructure package should be administered through the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF) and targeted to areas that lack high-speed Internet access.

Second, Congress should include in the infrastructure bill my proposal for creating Gigabit Opportunity Zones. Under my proposal, we would provide tax incentives for Internet service providers to deploy high-speed broadband services in low-income neighborhoods.