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House lawmakers clash over broadband infrastructure

Lawmakers expressed support across party lines for efforts to bolster broadband infrastructure during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday, however, Democrats and Republicans clashed on how to best approach this goal. “Despite this rare consensus, Republicans on this committee have decided to unveil a series of partisan bills that don’t address the real problems,” said the committee’s top-ranking Democrat Frank Pallone (N.J.). “They turn bipartisan agreements on their head, unnecessarily pitting urban versus rural, industry versus local governments, and broadband access versus our environment,” he continued.

ADVERTISEMENT The Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha BlackburnHouse lawmakers clash over broadband infrastructureMarsha BlackburnGOP confident tax overhaul will be a 2018 winner GOP lawmakers confident on prison reform ahead of midterms Koch network charts ambitious course for 2018 MORE[2][3][4][5][6][1] (R-Tenn.) explained the undergirding principle of the 25 bills as preventing the government from “picking winners and losers in the [broadband] marketplace.” The subcommittee’s top Democrat Mike DoyleHouse lawmakers clash over broadband infrastructureMichael (Mike) F.

DoylePelosi pushes for House vote on preserving net neutrality House Dems want to give cities the right to build broadband networks Overnight Tech: Tech giants detail fight against extremist content | Senate Dems look for 51st vote on net neutrality | House to hold hearing on Hawaii missile alert | Twitter to notify users who saw Russian 2016 content MORE[8][9][10][11][12][7] (Pa.) criticized the scope of the hearing and said that Republicans are moving too quickly “We are considering twenty-five bills at this hearing, I don’t remember a time when this Committee held a hearing on so many bills with a single panel of witnesses,” Doyle said. “We are simply not giving these bills the time and expertise required for the members of this Committee to fully consider each of these bills and its ramifications.” During the hearing, witnesses recalled different stories they had heard of students in rural areas traveling to nearby McDonald’s and waiting near other buildings to try to get wifi access to complete their homework.

Representatives from the telecommunications and broadband industry agreed that broadband options in rural areas are significantly lacking but said that they want governments to subsidize their work. “What we do agree is that we need funding for areas where there is not a business case to build broadband,” said Jonathan Spalter, president of the telecommunications lobbying group USTelecom. Spalter and other telecommunications representatives said that their companies don’t build internet infrastructure in many rural areas because it’s too costly.

They noted that on top of this, the small population of such areas mean that more costly broadband buildouts have fewer customers, making the return on their investment small. “Those high-cost areas require a partner in government,” Spalter said. Efforts in Congress to expand broadband infrastructure for underserved rural areas have gained attention over the past year as anticipation has increased over the prospect of an infrastructure overhaul bill that could fund rural broadband buildouts.

A concrete path forward on any legislation has not yet materialized though.

President TrumpHouse lawmakers clash over broadband infrastructureDonald John TrumpCynthia Nixon calls for Americans to ‘take to the streets’ if Trump fires Mueller Trump declines to implement new Russia sanctions Comey praises McCabe: He ‘stood tall’ while ‘small people’ tried to tear down the FBI MORE[14][15][16][17][18][13] is expected to mention a £1.5 billion infrastructure plan during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

References

  1. ^ Marsha Blackburn (thehill.com)
  2. ^ Marsha Blackburn (thehill.com)
  3. ^ GOP confident tax overhaul will be a 2018 winner (thehill.com)
  4. ^ GOP lawmakers confident on prison reform ahead of midterms (thehill.com)
  5. ^ Koch network charts ambitious course for 2018 (thehill.com)
  6. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
  7. ^ Mike Doyle (thehill.com)
  8. ^ Michael (Mike) F.

    Doyle (thehill.com)

  9. ^ Pelosi pushes for House vote on preserving net neutrality (thehill.com)
  10. ^ House Dems want to give cities the right to build broadband networks (thehill.com)
  11. ^ Overnight Tech: Tech giants detail fight against extremist content | Senate Dems look for 51st vote on net neutrality | House to hold hearing on Hawaii missile alert | Twitter to notify users who saw Russian 2016 content (thehill.com)
  12. ^ MORE (thehill.com)
  13. ^ President Trump (thehill.com)
  14. ^ Donald John Trump (thehill.com)
  15. ^ Cynthia Nixon calls for Americans to ‘take to the streets’ if Trump fires Mueller (thehill.com)
  16. ^ Trump declines to implement new Russia sanctions (thehill.com)
  17. ^ Comey praises McCabe: He ‘stood tall’ while ‘small people’ tried to tear down the FBI (thehill.com)
  18. ^ MORE (thehill.com)

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