Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell, requesting that the Committee hold a Federal Communications Commission oversight hearing to discuss the agency’s plans and timelines for developing new broadband maps.
In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the minority leadership from the House and Senate Commerce Committees asked about the FCC's status on completing its mapping process to ensure accurate broadband data collection. [Congress just allocated the funds the FCC needs to do the mapping in December 2020.] "[W]e are concerned that delays in completing these maps could lead to further delays in distributing critical broadband funds," the Members of Congress write. "You have repeatedly stated that the FCC could quickly produce new broadband maps.
Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Broadband Reserve Fund Act. This legislation would require the net proceeds from the C-Band spectrum auction to be deposited into a reserve fund at the Department of Treasury to be used to expand broadband access and digital opportunity, modernize the nation’s communications infrastructure, and meet other connectivity priorities.
As I evaluate the Universal Service Fund for the upcoming congressional session, I am requesting information regarding the full funding capabilities that the Federal Communications Commission has at its disposal.
Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to to Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission Jessica Rosenworcel raising concerns about the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) long-term sustainability as a mechanism to close the nation’s digital divide.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the FCC to redouble its efforts to make mid-band spectrum available for 5G. The Sens wrote, "Currently, the United States lags far behind our competitors in the availability of mid-band spectrum for 5G. While Citizens Band Radio Service will make 70 MHz of licensed spectrum available under a novel licensing scheme, much more is needed.
Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) have introduced the “Streamlining Permitting to Enable Efficient Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure Act of 2017” (SPEED Act) (S 1988). Specifically, the SPEED Act would streamline federal permitting processes that impede the quick and efficient deployment of next-generation broadband technologies, including 5G. Currently, new and replacement telecommunications infrastructure is subject to numerous, sometimes duplicative federal approvals, including environmental and historical reviews.
[Commentary] I support the recent announcement by the Federal Communications Commission to roll back the misguided and overbearing regulatory structure imposed during the Obama Administration. Access, choice and low costs are important to American consumers when it comes to high-speed internet. That is not what the Democratic-led FCC achieved with the reclassification of broadband service under a burdensome, utility-like regulatory framework.
Closing the digital divide is a top priority of mine as chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee that oversees internet issues. To do so, Internet service providers need the confidence and certainty to invest in our nation’s most rural areas. A restrictive regulatory framework that chills growth and jeopardizes investment could hold back our underserved communities, stifling the potential for jobs and economic development with it.
The FCC’s action also offers Congress an opportunity to do more to ensure a free and open internet for all Americans. The time is ripe for Congress to find a way to balance proper regulatory oversight without stifling the freedom of internet service providers to grow and innovate.
[Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) is Chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee]