Closing the Digital Divide Broadband Infrastructure Solutions – Archive of federal discussion

I’m providing the archive of yesterday’s House of Representatives Commerce Committee meeting…

And Benton Foundation’s summary

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology examined  25 bills that seek to improve broadband infrastructure across the country. Members engaged with a panel of seven expert witnesses who provided a range of perspectives on this important issue. Chairman Blackburn said, “We wanted to have a very inclusive hearing today to discuss all of the ideas from Subcommittee members on both sides of the aisle to promote broadband infrastructure deployment with a goal of closing the digital divide. Whether you agree or disagree with any individual idea, it is so important that we get the conversation started. And we have plenty to talk about, with 25 bills introduced in time to be part of our hearing today. I very much appreciate all of the thoughtful proposals and look forward to seeing many of them progress in the coming weeks.”

House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said, “I appreciate Republicans scheduling a hearing on broadband deployment and including some Democratic proposals, but I’m concerned that the Majority is simply trying to jam too much into this one hearing.  Seven witnesses discussing 25 bills will not help the American public understand these proposals, let alone the members of this Committee.  What’s more, we do not even have the relevant agencies here to help us understand how they will interpret the often conflicting directions included in the Republican bills. We are now a little over year into this Administration, and all Washington Republicans have  to show the American people in this Subcommittee’s purview are a check-the-box hearing designed to paper over the Republicans’ failure on infrastructure; their erosion of our privacy rights; and their elimination of net neutrality.  When it comes to governing, this Subcommittee is falling short.”

I’ve been listened to the meeting. It’s interesting but also as Benton points out – it’s a lot. Rather than recap, I thought I’d  list the speakers and approximate times they spoke so you can check out the parts that most interest you.

  • 23 minutes in – Mr. Jonathan Spalter – President and CEO, USTelecom – representing all broadband providers. Spoke about the need for public funding to supplement the $1.5 trillion invested in broadband in last two decades
  • 28 minutes in – Mr. Brad Gillen – Executive Vice President, CTIA – focusing on wireless and the race to be first in wireless access
  • 32 minutes in – Mr. Matthew Polka  – President and CEO, American Cable Association – focused on streamlining, funding but not for overbuilding, and tech neutral
  • 37 minutes in – Ms. Shirley Bloomfield  – CEO, NTCA– The Rural Broadband Association – there is ongoing work in providing rural broadband
  • 42 minutes in – Mr. Scott Slesinger – Legislative Director, Natural Resources Defense Council – cash and political will are needed for better broadband. Federal rules are not the biggest issue.
  • 48 minutes in – Ms. Joanne S. Hovis – President, CTC Technology and Energy – focus on locally driven efforts and public-private partnership
  • 53 minutes in – Ms. Elin Swanson Katz – Consumer Counsel, Connecticut Consumer Counsel – assess affordability of broadband in low income areas







This entry was posted in Conferences, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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