Trade Groups Press Hill for Broadband Funding

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Trade associations representing broadband, streaming, wireless and tech companies have teamed up to urge Congress to fund broadband infrastructure and services, including by extending CARES Act broadband money, saying time is of the essence.

That came in a joint letter to the House and Senate leadership Wednesday (Dec. 2) from groups including NCTA-the Internet & Television Association, USTelecom, and the Internet Association.

Related: House Members Seek Permanent Broadband Aid

"Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, America’s broadband, communications infrastructure, cloud, and application providers have kept our communities connected and provided tools to help us live remotely," they write. "Even as the global economy closed down, America’s internet has remained open, strong, and resilient, ensuring our nation and our families can continue to work, learn, and function."

But they concede that while progress is being made toward universal service, "several million" Americans still lack broadband access.

They said Congress has a "unique and urgent opportunity to address the near-term broadband needs of millions of families and students" and that legislation is needed to fund 1) broadband adoption, 2) broadband deployment and investment, and 3) the new FCC broadband mapping initiative Congress itself has mandated in the Broadband Data Act.

"[A]s you finalize end of year legislation, we respectfully ask you to support funding for broadband service for families and students by extending the current CARES Act funding and ensuring that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has funding to develop accurate broadband maps," they wrote.

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.