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House Republicans Plan Broadband Bill Blitz - Broadcasting & Cable

House Republicans Plan Broadband Bill Blitz

Will roll out legislation to effect Trump pledge to close rural divide
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House Republican leaders say they will be introducing a series of bills this week to help effect the Trump Administration's pledge last week to boost broadband deployment, including by easing access to federal lands, to help close the rural digital divide.

The Communications Subcommittee will also hold hearings on key issues, which include prioritizing infrastructure, easing the regulatory process, coordination between state, local and federal government and "clear" rules regardless of broadband tech--wired or wireless.

The bills will fall into roughly three categories, say House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Communications Subcommittee chair Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

Related: GOP Comsubcom Outline Broadband Infrastructure Priorities

The first bills out of the gate will focus on clearing away barriers to deployment, including by simplifying permits and duplicative processes. The FCC has been doing the same thing on a separate track.

The second tranche of bills are billed as "establish[ing] a defined, consistent framework for all broadband technologies.

Third will be speeding funds for high-speed broadband in disaster areas to help improve public safety response and communicate with affected communities. "Reliable and fast communications service can save lives, and we need to make certain it can be available in affected areas," Walden and Blackburn said Monday.

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