America's Next Tech Upgrade Reports

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 2:00pm

BROADBAND: Connecting All Americans 

In terms of broadband adoption, Congress needs to provide funding to address students who are unable to connect during COVID-19 and look at ways of improving Lifeline. 

Permit Streamlining: Without a functional permitting regime, funding for broadband can only go so far. The Chamber supports reauthorizing of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act’s Title 41 (“FAST-41”) and the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) reform on a broader level. At the same time, state and local governments should be prohibited from dragging out decisions for applications as well as charging unreasonable and excessive fees. 

Smart Regulation: Congress should not apply regulatory frameworks from the turn of the 20th century to modern technology like the internet. The FCC should treat broadband as an essential service, not a public utility. The Commission should continue to embrace economic analysis. Finally, the federal government must develop a comprehensive, unified, spectrum management plan and examine how to remove regulatory barriers to the deployment of emerging technologies like the Internet of Things.


DATA: Data for Good and the Need for a National Data Strategy

Data has long been a driver of the United States’ 21st century economic leadership in analytics in the areas of financial inclusion, public health, and safety. The coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) has further brought to light just how important the use of data is to mitigating the effects of the virus, tracking and slowing its spread, and promoting economic recovery. In order for Americans to continue to reap these vital benefits, the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (“C_TEC”) calls for a national data strategy, including the need for national privacy legislation, a robust artificial intelligence (“AI”) framework, and information technology (“IT”) modernization for federal, state, and local governments. 

In order for Americans to continue to reap these vital benefits, the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (“C_TEC”) calls for a national data strategy: 

National Data Privacy Legislation: In order to spur innovation and provide certainty to consumers and businesses, Congress must pass national data privacy legislation that protects all Americans equally and eliminates a patchwork of state laws. Privacy legislation should provide consumers with easy to understand rights and businesses with clear obligations. Congress must recognize the importance that data plays in advancing key societal goals like public health, safety, and inclusion. 

Artificial Intelligence: The emergence of AI technologies will transform nearly every sector of the economy and improve the lives of millions of Americans. To ensure the responsible development and deployment of AI applications and position the United States as a global AI leader, policymakers must embrace commonsense regulatory approaches, invest in AI research and development and open government data, and lead in the creation of AI standards. 

Information Technology Modernization: Government IT systems have lagged behind the private sector in terms of modernization. Congress and the administration must take a proactive approach to providing funding to upgrade federal systems. Policymakers must facilitate a coordinated plan to ensure that agencies not only utilize resources efficiently but also develop and implement strategic planning around how government IT is procured and integrated into government operations. 

The first section of this white paper authored by the PERC addresses how technology and data have been used to aid in the fight against and recovery from COVID-19. Later sections are policy proposals put forward by C_TEC for a national data strategy. 


TRANSPORTATION: Building the Foundation for the Future of Transportation

Since its creation in 2015, the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) has advocated for rational public policies that drive economic growth, spur innovation, and create jobs. While technological innovations touch nearly every sector of the economy, the transportation sector will likely be particularly impacted due to new innovations in artificial intelligence, automation, advanced sensors, and many other foundational technologies. 

Two areas of technological innovation prioritized by C_TEC are unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) and automated vehicles (“AVs”). In addition, the emergence of urban air mobility (“UAM”) has come into focus for the private sector and policymakers. UAS, UAM, and automated vehicles have the potential to transform how people travel, how packages are delivered to consumers, and how businesses in all sectors operate. 

Policymakers in Washington, DC have been similarly engaged in a bipartisan manner to facilitate the safe development and deployment of these technologies through legislative and regulatory action. Congress and Federal regulators have made great strides in the last five years to work closely with the private sector in the development of legislation, regulations, and other standards for UAS and AVs. Nonetheless, many policy challenges lie ahead to fully unlock the benefits of these emerging transportation technologies and successfully build the foundation for the future of transportation. Moreover, while the United States has long been a global leader in transportation innovation, we face increased economic and geopolitical competition from other economies that seek to write the rules of the road for the future of transportation. 

This whitepaper is intended to inform Congress, regulators, and the general public about the key policy issues faced by UAS, UAM, and AVs, and provide policy recommendations on how to encourage further innovation and maintain U.S. leadership in these emerging technologies. These recommendations are outlined in two chapters, the first focusing on emerging aviation technologies such as UAS and UAM, and the second focusing on automated vehicles: 

Emerging Aviation Technologies: Policymakers must take a comprehensive approach to unlock the benefits of UAM and UAS. To ensure the safe integration of UAM and UAS into the national airspace, C_TEC recommends that policymakers focus on several key areas including: safely removing barriers to innovation; prioritizing the main enabling systems and infrastructure to provide for further integration; mitigating threats stemming from illicit UAS operations; and strengthening United States competitiveness in emerging aviation. 

Automated Vehicles: The safe development, testing, and deployment of automated vehicles is paramount to building public trust in automated vehicle technology and ensuring widespread deployment. C_TEC recommends that policymakers focus on removing barriers to automated vehicle innovation through regulatory and non-regulatory approaches; ensuring regulatory clarity; educating the public on automated vehicle technology; and strengthening research, development and testing.


WORKFORCE: The Future of the Workforce

Technology is changing how we connect to each other, solving complex challenges with data, and making transportation safer. Technology is expanding—not replacing—opportunities for Americans to work, granting them flexibility via new work models in the gig economy, expanding the job pool through the creation of data centers, and helping workers train and develop new skills. America’s technology sector accounts for 6.5% of total U.S. GDP, directly employs 5.9 million works and indirectly supports 33.8 million jobs.1 As more traditional companies embrace technologies and become technology companies themselves, they too will enable economic and job growth. In order for the U.S. to reap the benefits of the 21st century technology workforce, the U.S. Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center (“C_TEC”) believes that policymakers must 1) embrace innovative and flexible work structures to power the gig economy; 2) modernize the nation’s immigration laws; 3) partner with the private sector to upskill America’s workforce; and 4) encourage the deployment of data centers.