230123 Broadband Response Sen Thune
January 24, 2023
The Honorable John Thune
Ranking Member Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Ranking Member Thune:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce appreciates your leadership and strong interest in broadband policy issues, and we appreciate this opportunity to address issues regarding current broadband regulatory structure and other broadband policy priorities.
America’s communications networks play an essential role in connecting Americans and are revolutionizing the way people work, learn, seek medical care, and communicate with friends and family. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the private sector played a critical role in keeping the “digital lights” on for the economy. Broadband adoption, access, and affordability serve as crucial building blocks to connect all Americans and enable the internet economy to flourish.
The United States has made significant strides in the last few years to close the digital divide by investing nearly $80 billion in broadband programs, primarily through the historic investments made by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). However, we share your view that federal broadband programs are not guided by a national strategy and policymakers must provide a more effective path forward to successfully close the digital divide.
Moving forward, Congress’s primary focus should be effectively implementing federal broadband programs and maximizing the use of taxpayer dollars. This includes pursuing robust oversight of federal broadband programs and ensuring effective interagency coordination. Congress must also bolster America’s strength through building. As I outlined in the 2023 State of American Business remarks, Congress must take action to pass meaningful permitting reform for America’s infrastructure, including for broadband. Furthermore, Congress and policymakers must prevent overregulation of the broadband marketplace to preserve innovation and to effectively close the digital divide.
The Chamber again appreciates the opportunity to provide our perspectives on broadband policy. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues to pursue meaningful policies to address the digital divide and strengthen America’s economy. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Matt Furlow, Director of Policy at the Chamber Technology Engagement Center, at email@example.com.
Executive Vice President
Chamber Technology Engagement Center
U.S. Chamber of Commerce