Broadband-Boosting Bill Draft Circulated

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) have circulated the draft of a bill that would speed the deployment of 5G, just one a host of moves to goose the buildout of high-speed broadband. The bill would limit the ability of state and local governments to restrict access to poles and rights of way except in specific circumstances -- insufficient capacity, safety and reasonable concealment, for example -- according to a copy of the discussion draft. It also includes help for cable franchise buildouts and their accompanying broadband component so governments are equal-opportunity broadband facilitators. The bill would limit state and local governments' ability to impose a "de facto" moratorium on accepting or processing permits, or their ability to make it harder for tech or capacity upgrades, and addresses other "regulations by a state or local government ... that prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of wireless services," according to the draft. It also imposes a shot clock of 90 days on government decisions regarding various requests.


Broadband-Boosting Bill Draft Circulated