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E&C Committee passes Carter bill expanding broadband access

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C) today passed Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter’s (R-GA) bill streamlining the permitting process for upgrading broadband infrastructure so that more Americans have access to internet and the United States can maintain its competitive edge against China.

Watch Rep. Carter’s remarks in favor of the bill here:

“While the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was a missed opportunity, this proposal is an important step in unleashing innovation and turbocharging public and private investment,” said Rep. Carter. “These changes will allow internet providers to focus their time and energy on what matters most: connecting all Americans.”

“High-speed broadband is a vital part of our economy, yet many Americans still do not have access to these important services. In order to ensure access, especially in rural areas, we need to cut red tape and streamline the burdensome permitting processes at the federal, state, and local level. I applaud these efforts, including Rep. Carter's leadership, to help close the digital divide and lift permitting burdens so we deploy broadband faster, with less government waste, and more efficiently,” said E&C Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

The bill achieves these goals by:

  • Streamlining the process for requesting approvals to deploy new broadband infrastructure;
  • Requiring that application fees to review permitting applications are based on actual and direct costs, and that providers have a clear timeline for a response;
  • Simplifying the process for requesting approval to upgrade existing infrastructure; and,
  • Ensuring that environmental and historic preservation reviews for broadband deployments are proportional to the level of deployment taking place.

Read the full bill text here.