Trump's Broadband Assist

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The Trump administration is eyeing multiple “work streams” to help speed along broadband deployment, the National Economic Council’s Grace Koh told reporters: easing the permitting process on federal lands; letting towers built on federal lands also include infrastructure from telecom companies; and using dark fiber agencies have deployed to help rural providers through interconnection agreements. “We'll also look at funding sources,” Koh added, noting the existence of “funding sources for both broadband deployment and adoption scattered across the federal government” and a plan to look at “how we can coordinate those funding sources and bring them together in order to get the maximum effect for the subsidy.” But senior administration officials weren’t prepared, when asked later in the call, to say the degree to which the Trump White House aspires to close the digital divide or provide a dollar estimate for what the administration may be interested in spending. Keep an eye out later today for the administration’s release of recommendations from the Rural Prosperity Task Force, counting Cabinet members and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai among its members.