Skip to main content

tv   Hearing on Rural Broadband Access  CSPAN  December 27, 2022 3:08pm-5:34pm EST

3:08 pm
your front row seat to washington, anytime, anywhere. >> c-span is your uncle's review of government. -- unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these companies and more, including cox. >> -- hortense be hard and squatting at a diner for internet is harder. that is why we are providing -- >>cox suort c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you upfront will see to democracy -- a front row seat to the democracy. >> the hearing is two hours and
3:09 pm
20 minutes. sen. lujan: i want to thank ranking member thune for working with me and thank you to the witnesses for your testimony and your participation.
3:10 pm
congress provided 65 billion dollars for broadband in the bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs act into reshape the landscape of productivity in the united states. as supports broadband and adoption and new rules for inclusion and equity. this is a historic bipartisan commitment to close digital price and to ensure everyone is able to participate in the economy in the interconnected world and i want to acknowledge what we have accomplished so far. it is time to have a different conversation about putting those resources to work. congress must ensure our federal tribal state and local partners are able to deploy these resources efficiently to address real need, and not just maximize opportunities and profits. every village in pueblo, new mexico and across the nation deserves equal access that this
3:11 pm
law provides an congress has good reason to be vigilant regarding the use of these funds. it will be important that there are guardrails. the investment should flow to areas where it is needed most. just as historic and equities and redlining of the financial -- left unserved by housing and access to banking, digital redline has resulted in worse service and higher prices for those same communities. an investigation published in a partnership with the associated press, showed that many internet service providers offer their worst bills to formally redlined neighborhoods. this article demonstrates why it is so important the fcc implement new rules to prevent these digital disc termination related to broadband -- discrimination related to broader -- broadband.
3:12 pm
they should not deepen existing inequities. we must also work with administrative data and the natural telecommunication and -- administration to allocate funds according to the true state of access to affordable broadband as required by law. with the broadband data act, congress provided funding to develop cutting edge broadband maps and these maps have already pruitt -- proving to be a leak forward and understanding broadband availability. i am grateful of the work the fcc has done in the area of implementing the broadband data act and nti will use these maps to use -- make funding allocations from the money made from the broadband action and employment.
3:13 pm
the initial version of these maps still needs work. the version largely relies on self-reported data from broadband providers. the example i will give here cells where there was -- shows where there was data that was missing. whole communities were missing from the fabric of these maps, in my state, new mexico, out of the four corners on the navajo nation, and in pueblo, new mexico, we are not included and cannot afford to get this wrong. the bill recognizes that local communities have the best knowledge of local -- connectivity issues. we want to encourage everyone across the country to learn about this process and learn about the apps that were developed by the federal communications commission. check death -- the speed at your house and businesses and schools
3:14 pm
and if they are not reported by your map site, use the map and get better data. i will continue to work closely with the commission and communities on the ground to ensure that maps represent the true state of broadband availability in new mexico and across the country. we must also continue to find long-term solutions to make but by and -- broadband equitable. that is why i created an act to include an ongoing source of funds for digital equity access and inclusion. as the pace of technological develop -- develop it continues to accelerate, we will have a divide between those who have access and those who need it. we much -- this bill will supplement the digital equity program that was included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill and it would create permanent
3:15 pm
foundations to create initiatives that can reshape the future of the united states. through funding, and working to strengthen digital equity, for programs like need and travel blog -- broadband and affordable connectivity, we will need to find affordable funding for these priorities. tens of millions of americans do not have a choice between internet service providers. their options are limited to wherever has cable running to their apartment or fiber to their houses or wireless service in their valley. there are too many communities where market forces have failed. congress acted to ensure millions of americans who do not have access to affordable broadband gain access. i look forward to ours -- our discussion that will focus on making that a reality and to
3:16 pm
identify deeds that might require additional congressional action. i am honored that our witnesses joined us today and mr. thune in person. kimball c cop thank you -- kimball sekaquaptewa who is a fellow new mexican and the chair of connect new mexico counsel and chief technology director for the southern indian school. she has been an advocate for connecting people in new mexico and i appreciate her presence and i look forward to hear about what has been accomplished and how we can connect people across america and jonathan's balder -- jonathan spalter is the ceo of the u.s. telecom association.
3:17 pm
michael powell as president and ceo of ncta, the internet and television associated -- association. she -- he represents most of the cable market and some of the largest represent actual providers in the united states. and angela seaver, the executive director of the national digital inclusion alliance. thank you all for being here and i look forward to this conversation and i would just add that this conversation is taking place at a time where we have four fcc commissioners and i am hopeful there is a up or download that can be scheduled on the senate floor over the nomination and i will call on a boat to take place at many of us have been asking for a vote to
3:18 pm
take place for a while and there were several voices that advocated for nominations a year before they took place. even pre-confirmation of the chair and other so i am hopeful that we can have a full commission soon. one final note. while this my -- may be my last opportunity to preside over the south commission this year, -- sub commission this year, my deepest thanks to the ranking member over the congress committee who has shaped national broadband policy, including the broadband data act and much of what we will discuss today is possible to the hard work of senator wicker and his staff. including olivia trustee, matthew hamilton, and the armed services committee will be
3:19 pm
fortunate is to have mr. wicker as part of that committee as well. i want to rep. mace: chaired cap well -- recognize chair cap well -- and the current staff, chrissy barnhart, mary wong at/ --and others and i want to thank the tireless work they do every day and i turned over to chairman thune. sen. thune: thank you and let me begin by saying it has been a pleasure to lead these subcommittees to you for the past couple years and i look forward to working with you on a number of issues before the subcommittee congress in one of the issues is turning -- is ensuring -- the expansion of these services to rural areas
3:20 pm
have been up early of my and since march of 20 -- a priority of mine. since march 2020, -- through patches of the infrastructure bill that provided broadband funding at eight nice tag of over $64 billion in the nearly 80,000,000,004. best buy been specific projects on top of the billions of dollars the fcc disperses annually under its universal service fund is an unprecedented amount of money. for those areas that have certain connectivity challenges, the funding should help close the digital divide. the bad news is this funding has spread out over 15 separate agencies and 133 programs with the lion share of the funding going to an tia --ntia.
3:21 pm
this is concerning. ntia has fumbled attempts to bring broadband to rural communities. they didn't go very well. the agency struggled with implementation and there were issues on the number of projects the agency approved. other projects resulted in the construction of additional broadband infrastructure in areas that already had access to reliable broadband. last year, ntia called for volunteers to help determine how to allocate the $1.5 billion congress provided them for certain band programs. that is acceptable. without stringent oversight, ntia will make and has already made the same mistakes when
3:22 pm
managing the $42.5 billion broadband equity access and employment program. that is why last week, i began an oversight effort to review the broadband programs. oversight on how these dollars are being spent is necessary to avoid agencies missy -- going to areas that are truly unserved. if there are changes that need to be made, we need to get to work that they are aspect of effective as possible -- they are as effective as possible. carlos please to partner with other senators in introducing the rule improvement act -- rule improvement act. we must recognize the federal government will not solve
3:23 pm
digital divide on its own and it is important we maintain a regulatory framework that promotes investment and allows element -- telecommunication companies to make the choices that have resulted in strong networks. broadband providers in the united states were able to keep americans connected during the pandemic. this is largely because of the united states' light touch regulatory approach to policy. finally, we much -- must tackle hurdles -- my mobile now act which was signed into law in 2018 has been effective in moving federal government in the right direction but i hear concerns about the unnecessary delays and costs associated with broadband permanent --permaning.
3:24 pm
i am sending a request to several federal agencies on the steps they have taking -- taken to implement mobile now's broadband -- we have talked about bridging the digital divide and it is time to do it and the only way that happens is if this committee actually utilizes important oversight responsibilities to ensure agencies under its jurisdiction make start -- smart and targeted investments to taxpayer -- taxpayer dollars. i want to thank each of the witnesses were being here and i look forward to the discussion -- for being here today and i look forward to the discussion. sen. lujan: i recognize our witnesses. for five minutes each for testimony and we will again with kimball sekaquaptewa -- begin with kimball sekaquaptewa. kimball: my name is kimball
3:25 pm
sekaquaptewa from the hopee tribe. it is well know that new mexico is one of the least connected states in the country in large part due to the population they shinny and in my communities, the wire lines have not changed in 20 years and there are none. until i completed my first five are -- optic network, the -- over a bonded c1 and as a chief technology director for the indian school. it was my my -- responsibility -- we sent home to 23 rule world triable --rural tribal communities and 89% of art
3:26 pm
students did not have internet access. those that did lived in town. there was a silver lining, it was that we could be -- we could build on previous outwards work and i leverage the school and our program to create a concerts of libraries for -- concerts of libraries for broadband access -- concert some --concert of libraries for broadband access. some now participate in be affordable connectivity program as service providers and -- fast-forward to 2022 and the work continues.
3:27 pm
thanks to the tribal broadband connectivity program, they are constructing a route in tribal lands. the travel -- efforts to connect unserved homes and institutions and our experience has proven that we can be our solution to the digital divide and it is true that until the iterative broadband matures, certification of broadband availability is essential. the map currently shows three residences when it should show 275. the indian school will create 500 miles of fiber which is important for new mexico and the tried --tribe. private industry will not have to bear the expenses cost to build these routes and will have access to fiber back cost to improve and extend their last mount network. providers have built around
3:28 pm
sovereign land when we are the critical partner to achieve right away and navigate permitting processes along with the federal agencies having oversight. as chair of the connect new mexico council and with my colleagues, we stewards the deployment of scalable and affordable broadband to connect every new mexican utilizing state funds and the upcoming programs. in new mexico, we created a pilot grant and i can see formidable barriers to participation. while local governments are eligible as grantees, the stringent requirements for matching funds and letters and credit, discourage participation and these require an better resources for isps. we run the risk of maintaining the status quote and missing
3:29 pm
underserved communities without funded -- federally funded programs. we estimate that the fabric is missing tens of thousands of unserved homes and institutions such as small schools, health care centers, and potentially shortchanging our state by up to $500 million in funding. an educated guess because the way the funding formula works is unknown. we asked officials to extend the deadline to have more time to challenge the missing locations to be fcc map. i submit that the solution to bridge the digital divide in the united states does not lie in beat methodology limited to become fashionable isp approach. i refer to a broadband ecosystem. only half the states in the
3:30 pm
country are state education networks. the development of state education networks has the benefit of installing middle mile infrastructure. the way the fabric counts anchor institutions minimizes the roles that they can play to provide solutions, and a lifting peace efforts create a holistic approach and one that is needed to solve the complexity of broadband access for all. sen. lujan: thank you for your testimony and we will hear from the honorable powell. michael: thank you very much and i am honored to be with you today. i am michael powell, president and ceo of ncta and our members have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to bring height speed broadband to households.
3:31 pm
we recommend the work is undone and many of our members would love to serve rule and unserved parts of the country but are unable to do so because they are cost prohibited. we are excited and motivated and committed to work with congress community organizations to make this great opportunity a resounding success over the next couple of years it is not -- and it is not an exaggeration to say this is a once in a generation opportunity. first is the amount of money appropriated is unprecedented. it is 10 times the amount of money that was authorized during the be time program in 2009 and it addresses the core concern in many areas. this scale of resources provides
3:32 pm
the first meaningful opportunity to close the digital divide and we are excited. the second area that represents true wisdom is to insist that the fcc develop more granular broadband maps. for too long, we have used maps that are out of date and well understood to have overstated the number that -- are underserved. that is a serious problem. we are excited about that. the fcc has made a dalliance -- galliant effort. there are many rounds of improving the data quality to ensure that those maps are accurate in the ways that others were referencing. congress took a fresh approach to addressing adoption and affordability.
3:33 pm
if focused on direct credits to consumers an order to afford high-quality service and combined with the kinds of offerings i have -- i has peace have created to abide, eligible low-income families will be able to access broadband essentially for free and as importantly, have the freedom to choose the plants that suit their family needs. this is of great improvement but from past experience, it will take a lot more than money. it will take excellent execution of the program and as senator thune mentioned, these are many programs and a lot of money being funneled through 15 different agencies. what could go wrong? in our experience, we have lessons that can tell us will go wrong -- what will go wrong. the first is telling to maintain discipline in targeting unserved energies -- areas. frequently, and past programs
3:34 pm
this is a big error and money will always work part -- hard -- in areas where there is already broadband and it requires discipline on the part of regulators to ensure that that doesn't happen in the second important thing to do is to remove obstacles. i speak permitting on federal land and local communities as well as access. if you do not have access to them, at a reasonable rates, you will not reach -- reach those committees. next is the importance of maintaining discipline against regulatory creep. these proponents have ability to attract requirements that are tangential to the mission of the program and the consequence is that it creates complexity and additional burden and raises the
3:35 pm
cost of already fragile cost model. we should resist the temptation to do that. finally, we have experienced the presence of waste fraud and abuse. while bc it set up, taxpayer resources to solve policy problems, there are people who will see it as a honey pot and will use any scheme possible to take as much money as they can. that requires real accountability and transparency and clear criteria, a government that explains its decision in issuing clients -- france clearly --grants clearly. thank you so much for having me and i look forward to answering your questions. sen. lujan: we will hear from jonathan spalter.
3:36 pm
jonathan: i like to join you senator lujan to extending thanks to senator wicker. my name is jonathan spalter and i am the president and ceo of u.s. telecom and brodd can -- broadband association. we represent -- the world through the power of broadband in our membership ranges from leading publicly trading companies as some of the largest investors and chap petersen at the country to local and regional companies that have roots in their states and service areas going back or -- over a century. what unites our membership as a shared need to connect communities -- is a shared need to connect communities. u.s. broadband, i believe has been a tremendous national
3:37 pm
success story with massive investment in network expansion, risers that are trending lower, even in a time of inflation and ever-increasing screeds -- suites. --speeds. broadband provider investments as -- along with common sense is why america's networks most of the challenge of the pandemic despite the demand due to the abrupt shift. the pandemic also lays quite bear the unacceptable cost of being left on the wrong side of the digital to life -- divide. our collective work is not yet done. working together, i believe it is in reach, between the tens of billions of dollars are members invest each year to connect infrastructure and the federal
3:38 pm
investments included in the infrastructure investment and jobs act, we have the opportunity to firmly connect all parts of our nation if we are work -- if we work together to meet this moment. i appreciate the opportunity to well up our sleeves and explore the underlying causes of the remaining broadband gaps and some of the concrete steps that we can take to close them. this includes maximizing the iija opportunity by ensuring funding rep recipients -- to get these essential projects over the finish line. removing or lowering hurdles to speedy deployment and claire find their broadband grants should not be treated as taxable income. charging a sustainable future for universal service. ensuring that everyone has the
3:39 pm
digital stills -- skills that are necessary to harness all that broadband makes possible. be much -- must not -- we must not over simple by the complexities of achieving high-speed internet for all and you will find no more committed partner and i like to make this happen then americans -- america's broadband providers. sen. lujan: we are going to hear from angela siefer, the executive director of the national digital inclusion alliance. angela: it is a privilege and a joy to talk to you today and i am angela seifert, the executive director of the national digital alliance -- we envision a country where everyone has the opportunity to use technology to live and learn and work and thrive. digital inequities are not new.
3:40 pm
the pandemic made them painfully clear that that clarity cost -- call to action and committees came together and scaling out digital programs. they are countries digital equity heroes -- are our countries digital equity issue -- heroes. representing the digital equity community, i think you -- thank you. we facilitate the nation's largest unity of practice and we have over a thousand local experts. these heroes need you again. the historic investment in digital and -- equity is amazing but will not bridge the divide. as long as technology keeps changing, the divide will keep changing and there are many
3:41 pm
solutions. affordable broadband and affordable devices, access to ongoing skills training and tech support in multiple language. with your investment, -- what your investment will do is change systems. have strong digital inclusion ecosystems that will allow us to continuously adapt technology changes. government agencies integrate broadband option programming and divide ownership into their programming and industries who benefit from customers being online, prioritize corporate giving and community partnerships. for lack for three prioritizes digital equity in their giving -- philanthropy prioritize digital equity in their giving. that would all be success and if all that happens, that is awesome. we still need federal support.
3:42 pm
long-term solutions bridging the digital divide require all hands on deck. as of december 15, 15 million households were enrolled in be affordable connectivity program and given that the rules of that work just created, this is monumental. we are thrilled that the fcc will have an out -- outreach fund and going into communities that are investing their resources and raising awareness. unless congress takes action, this program will go away in a few short years and as service providers, low cost programs are helpful but they have participation limitations. representing the digital equity community today, i asked you for -- i ask you for sustain -- program sustained funding -- i ask you for sustain funding. -- sustained funding.
3:43 pm
representing the digital equity community, as you to make the digital equity condition a reality. funded by others, this will provide long-term mechanisms for additional inclusion programs. we sorely need a full fcc. they have a big job. considered the new map and the broadband consumer labels and other responsibilities. we cannot do this without gg so. finally, we need to increase the amount of digital equity funds. there is -- i know i am asking for a lot and i went to saint thank you.
3:44 pm
that is our need. and internet access and the skill to use it are not only essential to survive but to thrive. driving is essential to america's progress -- promised to its ability for the people to compete globally. thank you for happening and i welcome questions. sen. lujan: i recognize members for questions. the first and -- question i have is to all the panel and it is a simple yes or no question. does increase broadband -- increased broadband adoption act as a multiplier for other sectors including health care, education and employment and commerce? kimball? kimball: absolutely and it has the ability to lift well-being. community and youth and
3:45 pm
government using broadband to make communities stronger with improved health care and education, it is what broadband is about for our work. sen. lujan: that is a resounding yes and i appreciate that. mr. powell? jonathan: i can tell you the importance of telehealth and the case of that. michael: --jonathan: i think you further leadership. -- thank you for the leadership. sen. lujan: new federal subsidies like the affordable connectivity program which provides $30 a month stipend toward internet service for eligible households and 75 dollars a month for travel lands lower areas to broadband access?
3:46 pm
kimball? kimball: absolutely, the critical stopgap measure was critical for the pandemic and it is critical moving forward while we install high-speed networks. sen. lujan: mr. powell? michael: i think so. sen. lujan: yes, i think so. i will come back to that. mr. sponsor --spalter? jonathan: broadband prices has bucked this trend and i will say it is important that we have to sustain be affordable connectivity program.
3:47 pm
sen. lujan: answer to that question? jonathan: resound -- angela: resounding yes. kimball: we are not putting in broadband for the sake of the broadband, we are changing human lives. digital broadband adoption is the humanistic side of this technology infrastructure project. sen. lujan: mr. powell? michael: we have learned that outreach and acuity groups are essential. sen. lujan: mr. spalter? jonathan: yes. sen. lujan: mr. seaver? angela: yes. sen. lujan: the affordable connectivity program has made it
3:48 pm
helpful for americans affording broadband access but this will not last forever and the digital equity act will help fund initiatives to target other various for broadband adoption across the country and it is not a permanent program. in addition to encouraging buildout, how can congress to -- work to provide permanent solutions to various of broadband adoption in the united states? angela: the individual things members of congress can do is working with industries that are impacted and if the industry is -- this isn't just -- it is the affordable connectivity program and all the things you all know that you have done before but because the digital divide is not going to be forward, we have to keep doing those things.
3:49 pm
angela: mr. spalter, -- sen. lujan: mr. spalter, do you believe all broadband access technologies provide equal access to learning tools? jonathan: i do and i would argue that it is wired base infrastructure that is going to be actually able to allow us to achieve our goal of a fully connected nation and we should focus on resources and funding programs accordingly. sen. lujan: mr. spalter, do son -- some of your member have data caps on there are benefits? jonathan: some members do provide a range of different options to consumers, including lower priced options and that includes a data cap and that is an option that is potentially very accessible to and important to certain consumers and for
3:50 pm
seniors who want to choose a lower-priced option. sen. lujan: i time is up and mr. powell, i have the same question. i will come back and neck similar questions and i like nice mr. thune for his questions. sen. thune: i have concerns about agencies pursuing extraneous political goals that could lead to increased costs for deploying networks and mr. powell, you talked about the need for government agencies to avoid unnecessary attic costs. how does direct and indirect forms of net neutrality and open access and burden labor requirements of deploying broadband networks to truly unserved areas? michael: the problem we are trying to solve distant events -- this intense type is -- this
3:51 pm
incentivizes --disincentivizes -- if you don't have clarity on what race you are allowed to charge and there are suggestions you or regulate the rate, that is a disincentive to knowing -- another example might be extensive workforce regulation, while well intended, being that you reduce the number of skilled workers available required to meet the buildout requirements in a market what type labor. that is complicating and could frustrate or defeat any number of initiatives. failure to be tech neutral means you have a limited amount of tools in the toolbox to solve complex problems in rule america --rural america. you can go on and on.
3:52 pm
>> there are a number of various. could you discuss the various -- barriers? jonathan: there are a number of different areas including a range of permitting challenges that members face federally and state and local levels. we believe there needs to be more coordinated and accountable efforts on the part of many agencies involved in deploying bart -- broadband around the country and we believe there should be greater coordination with state and local authorities to ensure that permitting bears can be leveled and we can machete through these problems i have been hearing. in western montana, where the
3:53 pm
permitting challenges with blm as three years to a buildout, those are challenging situations that we have to work together. sen. thune: you testified before the commerce committee in may 2020 on the resiliency of our countries broadband network during the covid pandemic and the united states fared much better than european countries thanks to our light touch approach and now that we are two years removed from the height of the pandemic, what -- what lessons should policymakers take away from future attempts to regulate broadband and what policies can congress pursue to encourage continued investments? jonathan: the pandemic was instrumental in showing all americans and policy makers and regulators that the kinds of common sense and smart policy frameworks that enable the
3:54 pm
innovation and investments to the levels we have seen and last year, $86 billion capital investment into our networks were made possible because we were trying to slow down -- not because we were trying to slow down investments for acceleration but trying to accelerate them but if we could as a nation, especially as the process -- precipice of the historic moment where we can develop -- deliver the $42.5 beta program money, that we not encumber this new investment unnecessary -- in unnecessary regulatory overhang and the ntia and other states listen to the intent of congress. let's focus on getting the moneys out to the underserved. sen. thune: there are 130
3:55 pm
programs supporting broadband across 15 different agencies. could you speak to the frustrations your members have when they are notified that another agency is providing funding to another entity to provide broadband in a area that is already served and i would start with mr. powell and mr. spalter. michael: it is a lot of money going to to many places into many programs under different criteria and this is complex to manage. i think that another thing our members are frustrated by his areas that are -- are areas that are possibly unserved but there is federal commitment to serve those areas that have been provided through other programs. you have won money in ardoff
3:56 pm
but it shows up as unserved in maps and programs don't agonize existing service to areas and that leads to confusion and stranded investment. -- only to have another program parachute in on the same thing so one of the challenges for regulators is to ruthlessly attempt to harmonize criteria conditions across these programs and make sure all take cognizance of the other as they make their decision. sen. thune: frustrated is one word i would use and there are some others that i could throw out but are members known -- our members know about these efforts -- coming in and making it more challenging for them to deploy which is one of the reasons why we believe that there should be -- congress should require the
3:57 pm
certification process by which agencies certified that their use of federal funds would not be actually deployed and there are where federal funds being spent. sen. thune: for all the panelists, does congress need to consider creating do not bend programs -- creating new broadband programs? >> i think we have a lot of broadband programs and they should focus on refining them. jonathan: let's see how the beat program progresses. then we can consider whether additional programs need to come online. angela: i would focus on the broadband adoption side. kimball: i would allow for continued funding to focus on on-time and on budget implementation with the adequate support to realize those goals. sen. thune: i will close by
3:58 pm
saying, i am concerned that any new programs will lead to duplication of services and wasteful spending and i hope that this vast array of programs that we have in funding associated with that, canwith tt so we do not end up with overbuilding and wasteful funding that does not achieve the desired goal. sired goal. th >> you add that to the normal funding and we are in a unique position. hopefully it can be utilized wisely and well on behalf of the taxpayer. thank you. >> mr. peters. >> mr. chairman, thank you for being here today. in 2020, congress passed the
3:59 pm
security and trusted communications act to ensure that american broadband networks were free from the influence of companies like huawei. in the bill we promised the broadband providers that we would help pay for rip and replace this equipment but so far congress hasn't kept up with that promise and there's a roughly $3 billion shortfall in the program. what to some people i think don't realize is this a simple just a national security issue but also a broadband equity issue as well. for example in the upper peninsula where 25% of households cannot access broadband currently northern michigan university operates connectivity to its student body and over a 16,000 household and roughly 120 rural michigan communities. without funding from congress to replace its equipment we trusted
4:00 pm
technology the university's ability to provide the service without question in danger right now so my question for you can you explain the potential consequences that rural broadband providers and users that rely on that service are going to face of congress doesn't act soon to fully fund rip and replace? >> let me start by thanking you for your consistent and forceful stewardship of the nations security and resiliency of the cyberinfrastructure. that's been very appreciated by all. if the rural and local providers particularly like those in northern michigan are unable to access, they will not be able to access universal service funds and that can have a devastating consequence on the lives of our rural communities and enterprises that populate them.
4:01 pm
this is a challenging issue that we have to make sure $3 billion can actually be deployed and we know none of our rural and local providers will be denied access to the types of support they need in terms of to deploy and manage their networks. >> thank you for the answer. i think it's important for people to realize the implication of this. i would also like to enter into the record from seven broadband trade associations in support of funding rip and replace. thank you. >> i want to thank you for highlighting the great work of digital navigators such as detroit connect 313 that are able to help guide communities through the affordable connectivity program. connect 313 as part of the
4:02 pm
reason detroit has the highest rate of enrollment in the connectivity program of any other metro area in the nation with 61% of eligible households and overall michigan's enrollment rate is almost 44%. .. >> that is a fabulous question. organizations i connect 313 those in the community that are trusted for some other reason like schools or
4:03 pm
libraries or food banks for those who are in need of that subsidy and that's how they get the high numbers. we need more of that across the country not just where we see such high numbers but that requires investment in those navigation services. we also need isp and customer service agent sometimes there is confusion because it's new to increase for those folks and then to go through a long process. >> and mr. power only running out of time representing charter and comcast can you speak to the extent they and other providers have will take steps to improve out reach in the implementation of connectivity quick.
4:04 pm
>> the benefits that they have been doing low-cost private programs for over a decade and they know outreach is essential those navigators is essential helping people understand the terms is essential so then have teams dedicated to those extra efforts and those tried to make those effective. >> we cannot hear senator blackburn. >> yes absolutely.
4:05 pm
excellent. thank you for this hearing. as you all know and as you have heard often this issue of deployment. mr. powell, when you look at all the money that has gone out through the infrastructure bill with the american rescue plan all of the money out there for bosnia and you are talking hundreds of millions of dollars and then in tennessee the state general assembly put another $100 million in behind the grant for broadband it seems like the funds are there but yet we continue to hear the low population areas are having trouble getting people to come in to do the last mile
4:06 pm
where there is less population permit i'll so what else do you need to connect the's areas? and why is the hesitation there when there seems to be so much money there? what are we missing. >> thank you for the question not only is money critical they are cost prohibitive but not in and of itself enough one of the problems we ran into is the complexity of permitting a lot of these examples include crossing federal land many will claim authority there is no lead entity a carrier can go to and
4:07 pm
that to have to wait to the process but can literally add years and years. >> it is a frustration too many county mayors who trying to get this done. i visit with the mayors every year so with the same question? >> thank you for the opportunity to answer the question i agree with mr. powell the challenges that come with orders slow and cumbersome challenges are manifold and we need to address them if we would be able to provide access in the
4:08 pm
underserved communities. it is incumbent on us as an industry to put her shoulder toward the problem but we cannot do it alone we have to work with this body and the federal government and to ensure there would be a greater consensus of making broadband service more accessible by lowering the barriers that come with permitting challenges. >> talking about barriers previously i asked about some of the labor laws and practices if they would require areas to implement in the state like tennessee that is a right to work state that is one of the barriers.
4:09 pm
how do you see that playing out? >> that's a very important question some providers are the largest employers of labor in the united states of america the iha recognizes broadband funding should not be subject to regulations. we believe they should scrupulously follow the spirit of the law without hesitation and this applies not only to davis-bacon but also the middle class subsidy requirement. >> mr. powell quick. >> i think that's right it's not a war if those protections are viable but that skilled
4:10 pm
labor available even before the need for hundred 50000 new skilled workers the additional requirements only complicate. >> i know you are asked over the 15 agencies which is an area of concern i would like a written response from you all. to talk about what you see as a way to do sound streamlining for the broadband deployment if you could submit that for the record that would be excellent. >> thank you to the witnesses
4:11 pm
just yesterday minnesota department of employment economic development has 6 million of federal funds for broadband we are very excited we have 144,000 minnesotans who don't have high-speed and we will personally think the chair for that money. thank you as well as all the people who have worked on this. it's a high priority since i have gotten here because especially in rural america it's easy for people to continue to live there and it was clear to the pandemic we do have workforce issues two months ago the lowest unemployment rate in the country in the history of america so you mentioned in your written testimony the availability of skilled labor
4:12 pm
is next generation can you tell us what you see on the ground i'm a big believer of integration reform and it's a game changer for the technology we need to deploy. >> . >> and then to do that broadband deployment to dig the trenches to pull fiber with the various technical and service requirements that are part of the process which is why we are working hand in glove with community colleges, high schools and organizations to develop apprentice programs one of the members in northern california
4:13 pm
has engaged in a partnership to do apprentice training this is one of hundreds of examples where we try to support the workforce. >> chair of the antitrust committee have always interested in the role competition can play one of those issues is a web provider and one of the things we did was to direct the ftc to show information in a simple format so consumers can make more informed decisions even that doesn't help the 87 wayne americans. i have a lot of co-ops that have been very responsive and smaller phone companies have tended to build out more and we have a clawback and talking
4:14 pm
if it goes out can you talk about what could be done to increase competition in the broadband market quick. >> that pieces important but only lowers it to middle-class. >> and more interested in the providers. >> and for those to create solutions. >> can you tell us of ways we can improve coordination and administration of the funding programs for broadband across the agencies with your experience in the past quick. >> it's important to go through a process for greater coordination but having a
4:15 pm
meeting is not the same one way to improve that is to create a set of external criteria to allow you to measure if it is effective as opposed to just meet the requirements talking three or four times. >> very good that's important and the people involved in the agencies are key as well. and how they are providing devices for low income households spirit they play a critical role for internet access historically but also access to devices so the
4:16 pm
participation of these entities in the digital equity planning with a conductivity fund is critical. >> thank you all very much. >> . >> thank you chairman and think it to the witnesses for today. a watershed moment i was proud to bring that together for many colleagues on this committee the vice partisan and as the bipartisan for the affordability and digital inclusion are the third step for high-speed broadband but
4:17 pm
that's not enough congress and stakeholders across the country must ensure they are implemented effectively to ensure we close the digital divide one with this is a particular interest where the federal government owns 42 percent of the land in our state as he represents our neighbor such as the bureau of land management could take years this needs to be improved you know the challenges with the approvals do you have any recommendations to streamline the process? >> thank you for the question we are frequently experiencing fear permitting challenges and
4:18 pm
to for those largest providers but also critically for regional and local providers as well. and then to address the states must share their plans this is one way to standardize the approach on a national basis and hope this will take root to reduce the visibility to reduce the permitting challenges. >> i said your name correctly. i did?
4:19 pm
[laughter] allocating $2 billion for the connectivity program in addition to tribal broadband funding for example the community four.$4 million grant to assist in telehealth expansion and affordable broadband service. and with that fiber connecting plus 18 businesses so based on your experience at the santa fe indian school can you discuss the importance of the tribal program for tribes in the southwestern can you recommend any additional steps congress should take to ensure more have fast affordable broadband access quick. >> i believe the tribal broadband connectivity program is historic and monumental
4:20 pm
allowing us to work toward her own community solutions with a lot of funding from the southwest there's been projects that work together in unison like the santa fe indian school putting in the middle mile working with our partners who have been applicants as well and then to share expertise with the permitting process but those gateway services to build an ecosystem that serves not just the last mile tribal needs but the regional needs as well. >> my last question is for
4:21 pm
mr. powell with the fcc publication preproduction draft you • see arizona and other stakeholders with the sec analysis and then to distribute broadband funding from the state governments that's just the first draft and do you have recommendations how to direct the federal money to underserved locations with the requirements of the law practice. >> we have to make sure we have a very robust feedback with a january 13 deadline and the second problem i see is
4:22 pm
the math is not universally asked applicable and that is potentially problematic and we have a lot of states that have different versions and we would hope those are fed into the sec process with a genuinely authoritative map to rely on equally. >> i yield back so the affordable connectivity program is responsible for connecting a quarter million wisconsin households to affordable high-speed broadband infrastructure and jobs act.
4:23 pm
doing a lot of old job to the benefit but i was really concerned to learn finding 45 percent of affordable connectivity program applications are rejected. that is a very staggering figure so what more could be done at the federal state and local levels to make eligible families and to encourage more seamless eligibility verification? >> it's a great question we have computer matching so that we could speed things up of the paperwork you didn't give us the right one. but also the human aspect having more funding for digital navigators for someone
4:24 pm
to say because of your situation you have to submit this instead of this it is confusing if you don't have a human helping you. thinking that you submitted everything including world broadband including the connect america fund and the fifth circuit heard arguments if this fund was supported on a bipartisan basis is unconstitutional so what would be the impact of the telecommunications ecosystem if the universal service fund was ruled unconstitutional? >> nothing less of universal connectivity. we believe in the constitutionality of the
4:25 pm
program and believe it is on sound legal footing and we expect the court will agree with us in this regard. but we have to be very clear i'd about the need to make sure universal service can be sustainable for the long haul and we have to expand the base of contributors providing support for telephone and voice providers to do so we are looking forward to working with you to ensure the fcc has the ability there is an interesting discussion with some of your coworkers i will ask you to be a futurist
4:26 pm
that is hard to foresee what it could mean that from my familiarity is the ability to hack encryption which is potentially dangerous. it is built on the premise and computer would take decades to crack so it is safe that a
4:27 pm
quantum computer can >> our members are focused on what will be encryption for the future and that is going to be a critical area. managing communications, the mathematical formula, all kinds of algorithms determine congestion and patterns to the extent that quantum computing could improve the efficacy. it probably means we could have much faster networks at higher capacity and lower latency, which would be the holy grail. for all with the structure providers. >> . >> thank you chairman for being here today. we have spent tens of billions of dollars on infrastructure investments and particularly
4:28 pm
broadband funding and this committee has important oversight and i commend the chairman for his effort. the infrastructure bill alone made a $65 billion investment of broadband deployment and adoption to establish as has been noted 42.$5 billion grant program at the end tia. >> represent many member companies who will likely participate in the grant program to your members want to participate and how is your industry prepared or perhaps
4:29 pm
touching on any regulations that are of a particular focus quick. >> let me begin and thank you for the question. if i could use this phrase we're loaded to deploy these responsibly and with those where with all to best apply the funds we are anticipating into the programming concerned those unintended consequences including provisions i don't believe congress had intended to be included and with that
4:30 pm
middle-class subsidy. and those that have the participation that we want. >> the tenor of your question is that this is a massive complex undertaking with the conditions and the parameters which ones will be available which ones are not available where the matching funds coming from had we do this in the inflationary environment are with the supply chain constrained environment or what are the ways to migrate around those things.
4:31 pm
that's the delicacy that could derail the participants. >> absolutely. we will note whatever regulations or provisions you think are are already unintentional on an ongoing basis to be attentive to friction associated with implementation and with the digital divide. so what is closing the digital divide mean to you? and do you believe officially through the spending and implementation initiative give
4:32 pm
that after tens of billions of dollars because frankly this is the promise of the broadband investment to make sure to significantly narrow the underserved households across the country. i expect inflation which could have an adverse role to meet that objective. >> so what is closure of the digital divide it's expressed of the iah a itself those who want access to broadband at least to get to the promised land it is tantalizingly close
4:33 pm
but it will take in all hands on deck effort to make sure we can in partnership with these encumbrance make our willingness to participate in question with the other challenges that we know are part and parcel with broadband deployment. >> so your answer is basically we hope we all need to be working together toward that and but you have not given me a confident assertion that would happen which is fair. >> every american regardless of where they live has the ability to access at a reasonable rate that is the historic commitment i am more excited and bullish than i
4:34 pm
have ever been i have also learned that declaring mission accomplished prematurely is a mistake this can be efficiently managed and i think the history of that anxiety should have a sharper and if we do that we should be able to celebrate if not we are wondering five years from now what happened. >> get your game face on. >> thank you chairman i appreciate you for holding this important hearing today. and the author of the infrastructure lot including the middle mile deployment act and went to ensure we meet their goals.
4:35 pm
and those to bring long-awaited high speed broadband to our state access is not just a communication issue is a workforce issue a public safety issue and healthcare issue and that's why i am so severely disappointed what was released by the fcc maps broadband funding is directly tied to the maps we need to get the process right. and for where they actually served but also means that challenge process must accept challenges based on actual engineering and with the facts on the ground not only what they could theoretically serve
4:36 pm
actual facts not theoretical because constituents are counting on us to get this right continuing to work with the fcc chairwoman so thank you i turn to my witnesses for questions. so to fire fully participate. and with affordable high-speed internet with those skills sets with diverse technology and knowledge services. and then to understood the importance to take that tailored approach to ensure there are programs for every local community addressing affordable affordability so
4:37 pm
one of the challenges i heard from stakeholders is finding community partners in rural areas for the digital equity act and still needs help finding partners of the capacity to implement programming. how do you approach working with these communities we want to make sure everybody gets what they need to thrive. >> thank you behalf of the bipartisan infrastructure lot we appreciate everything you did it is more difficult because those resources so the process that has to occur is a way to find those who can do the programming. but we may not know that because they call it something
4:38 pm
else. also way to educate perseus but then to become part of the solution integrated into other programming because of the trust they already have with the population and what mbia does is that training. >> so with this stakeholder engagement process we want to ensure success and affordability because despite areas where the support is needed the most ticket have the benefit to have the lowest participation in the connectivity program to let them know the programs are there and what are the strategies to be sure we
4:39 pm
increase enrollment? >> with those trusted intermediaries those are ready talking to the covered population there are those who are not always trusted because free sounds like a scam but if it is a librarian or your teacher or the individual and that you might trust and with the trusted sources up and down the state it is so important that everybody gets the digital access that they need. thank you so much. >> thank you chairman and ranking member for having this
4:40 pm
hearing i want to express my appreciation to the panels for their testimony you pointed out there is a lot of money a record amount of money going in to the broadband to get everybody connected what is the biggest barrier for internet service providers quick. >> you need critical input to actually operate and those are permitting as we talked a lot about today i would offer additional suggestions not only to coordinate deeper coordination but a harmonized set of access fees but we often call the agencies we will do your permit next year.
4:41 pm
but the second area we touched on we do have a regime and many of those have a conflict of interest to allow those providers that is a very serious problem with that continued focus and with that principle in primary obstacles. >> so this is a fair statement like a lot of laws and oversight so one of the problems we are concerned about is building on top of
4:42 pm
broadband that is already there. and because of that you have to.your eye these twice in cross the hebron times some will take federal dollars and build on other existing lines. it occurred to me it's not just the responsibility of the folks that are requesting the many or do you just not know where the services answer me which one of those statements is true? to have companies out there that are getting the money knowing damn well the services they are and make some money? over is it a situation it so
4:43 pm
bad. >> both can be true the effort to make it more sophisticated will diminish or mitigate that consequence. i have been involved in these programs for 30 years and i guarantee there are companies out there who believe they can acquire resources and subsidies and those that include where broadband already exist to pocket the profit and get away successfully to get away with accountability and shame on us if they do that a third time to express quite clearly and intentionally the desire the moving to underserved areas
4:44 pm
and only consider other possible uses of the many will we rigorously adhere to that scheme or is that eroded to the implementation of jurisdictions over time? >> think the dollars are there to get everybody connected but if not used correctly then that's a problem. i cannot speak for the agencies because i do oversight i don't do their work but that is part of the reason because i want to try to make sure people are not doing this. the bipartisan infrastructure bill that i hope to write and got past requires some broadband labels a look at the label it's great if you know what you're looking at but quite frankly the toes you about download and upload
4:45 pm
speeds but to a regular person it doesn't mean much will that be effective for do we need to take another run. >> they have an opportunity and potential to be effective but educating community members what these things mean. as it keeps changing learning how to educate it's complicated that somebody else knows all the answers. >> this is a big issue and to create a lot of jobs and the economy if it's done right. >> thank you for being here today i'm sure you can tell this is an issue and those who
4:46 pm
have some of the largest appointment so senator klobuchar and i introduce the actor earlier this year and this legislation requires a more vigorous verification progress seeking to participate in a thank you are all in support of this the issue is four years to have money go out to certain providers that in the end cannot provide the service for whatever reason it doesn't get deployed can you speak to that issue quick. >> the opportunity fund first
4:47 pm
iteration is proof positive we have to do better and be more aggressive we are properly vetting providers for the technical operation and why we support your legislation as we all have expressed a once in a generation opportunity we cannot be doing science experiments with these dollars. >> no we can't. >> i would say i endorse your instincts broadband is way more difficult and complicated than people realize and more importantly a commitment to the long-term there is a tendency to believe you dig
4:48 pm
the hole and you are done we spent $19 million every single year on upgrades make sure someone who was entering the program is able to sustain that for a meaning amount of time you can get the money to build. >> i'm not saying every municipality has an issue but this could be an issue not just the expertise but it doesn't just stop with the delivery i had a joint meeting to pre- map the state but when it came out it looked as if 138,000 so 900,000 residents
4:49 pm
188,000 locations and this is a national problem so when do we expect these to be finalized because the money cannot go out by our desire. >> and the general expectation is the map will come out in the spring and the distribution of funds so really we're in a crunch. beginning now with those submissions do on january 13 to give a genuine opportunity to reflect the concerns you are raising. the fcc is the one determining the location. that is not provided.
4:50 pm
a lot of these problems are in the fabric that you could help with. >> the review and challenge process plays a critical role to have maps that are fully functional and a complete undermining of the a lot to move forward with those that were not subjected to that rigorous review process which is why this kind of oversight is extremely important. >> we are pushing with the website to actually put your home address in and i would encourage people to do that in any case but in those areas it's easy to miss addresses
4:51 pm
but i'm appreciative that the state data that's coming forward has enhanced this but i appreciate everything you are doing. >> thank you mr. chairman and welcome panel. my first question i am from wyoming and we face unique challenges to impact the availability of broadband services and probably create additional cost sometimes the equipment is in remote areas when it needs to be repaired and hard to get maintenance to that type of equipment and
4:52 pm
that can cause additional cost when service goes down so what cost affects those tribal areas when it comes to deflecting broadband services? >> and for the tribal areas you are correct with the rugged nature look at the state of new mexico highway 4190 miles from the border so constructing that balance equipment is more expensive and that's probably one of the biggest elements that we battle when we design our projects the permitting is also a challenge with the
4:53 pm
recent federal efforts with the permitting counsel there's more of a mechanism to coordinate and that will be a huge time savings which can have cost components as well but we look forward to working with the new initiatives to make broadband projects eligible for their permitting counsel and are optimistic we can reach our delivery goals for the conductivity project choose timeframe had to be extended up to four years now for the project cost we look at the administrative cost that was unexpected for the longer timeframe and that has to do with the supply chain issues murdering a couple million feet of five or - -
4:54 pm
fiber with a two-year delivery date. >> we have the bureau of indian affairs we need to work with so that is another process we have to factor in. when we look at reforms and coordinations but it is time and education you might have that it conversation at the federal level but then once the management down to the people receiving paperwork are trained and meet their timeframe we will continue to see barriers. >> is it necessary to have the ia involved is this where the cia could be more of an impediment than a help? >> it does played an important
4:55 pm
role here and not all tribes are the same some of us have more resources and capabilities and capacity and for those that can move forward that is fair. >> does it adapt itself to the differences among tribes and the self-governance capabilities? >> yes they do. they try to address that. it also has a role and for instance acquisition word tribes have not had access to sovereign rights to be considered a natural resource. so as we move forward into the telecommunication space and negotiating in the secondary
4:56 pm
markets and those we like to utilize it's not by the license holder but the opportunity to utilize that spectrum but where does that began especially with a low resource tribe? how do we engage in that process we can't without additional structures of support and to help us with the process. >> i hope you reach out to the committee because you are knowledgeable in this area and let us know if there are areas where we should require a lighter touch of the cia with regard to regulation and layers of bureaucracy in this area that might prevent the company from accessing a
4:57 pm
broadband project. same question for you. >> states like yours are the most challenging these are complex terrains to wire and connect and all of those are running into those communities the availability of skilled labor to work in remote regions and is challenging as well and an area we haven't talked enough about is continuing backup in the supply chain which is problematic. >> thank you i am over me submit additional questions in writing thank you for being here. >> mr. powell i asked a
4:58 pm
question about data caps do some of your members maintain on the consumer broadband offerings quick. >> not throttling that went of those reasons as they are shared everyone is drinking from the same broadband network. >> but if the network is properly built there is plenty of data for everybody. just so you know data caps are like long-distance calling when my mom makes a long-distance call she uses the mobile device so she doesn't have to pay like she would with the land line. there should be long-distance calling in america.
4:59 pm
but everything that i am aware of the network buildout and construction there is plenty out there picture is that the correct assumption? >> some networks are a fixed connection and they're not affected cable networks are largely shared which means away their constructed and designed one home can affect the quality and also in multi- dwelling units swing the days when they are running a server in their basement could that degrade the experience of that connection? absolutely that's why the caps are extraordinarily high and
5:00 pm
they are done for network management reasons it's an individual business decision that they are necessary or not necessary. >> i appreciate the response that says people may not hit them so the reason i'm asking this question during the last couple of years with educators who were conducting the classrooms from their homes especially in rural parts of the country where there technology is line of sight
5:01 pm
from some provider that could not get to them in speaking to a number of teachers and students or households that they had purchased a good enough plan so they would not be hit with the data caps i was really surprised at the number of educators that did hit the caps and could not afford to go higher and the reason i'm asking that is with the work we are doing here it's about equitable access and to me a household the students hit the cap and they cannot participate in schools that does not feel like equitable access so i introduced a piece of legislation looking at this specifically.
5:02 pm
your largest member did not deploy a data cap plans although there is a question of 21 or 22 if that would happen but a recognition it was not needed everywhere and to your point but not all of your members have data cap plans available to customers as well but i hope that something we can look at going forward given network buildout's and if data caps continue at the rate we saw them during covid a lot of folks will feel left out and it's something we can work towards how do we best ensure students across new mexico and around the nation have equal access to education?
5:03 pm
specifically things of that nature quick. >> i think we have learned to the pandemic it's about the access i'm not sure in other states but in the tribal land in new mexico the physical barricades were put up to prevent traffic for people coming in and possibly with the sickness but also to protect us from going out and the problem with that is the students going to mcdonald's and starbucks could no longer have that access want the tribal library shutdown we were told to stay in our home in our bubble not even with the extended families so the internet in our home is the only lifeline we had for remote learning and 89 percent of students did not have it we
5:04 pm
cobbled together what we could with the mobile hotspot that really we need affordable permanent residential services in our community is the only way we can ensure adequate participation for our students in k-12 research is connecting to postsecondary pursuit after the pandemic we are not going backward remote learning is here to stay and will be completing homework at home and collaborating with their peers at night is the new normal we went to prepare students for success to have their availability to the internet and how we use the internet is changing and
5:05 pm
education i mentioned the state education network our tribal libraries are connected to institutions of higher education so when we have the residential internet connection high-speed anchor institutions we are connecting our basis to international high-speed education brief source networks that next generation as part of that greater conversation spent as part of the brilliance you made a decision based on the lack of connectivity when you were initially working which
5:06 pm
wasn't? which i believe we had a chance to visit but by building your network you could get to that access point for those in the community so thank you with continued success there have been some since specific questions while i agree with chairman powell that we have some data now we are clearly seen the aspects of the country from what that was able to capture in new mexico it was completely left out 37000 locations are unaccounted for. so how best to be local the
5:07 pm
enable the sec as intended quick. >> thank you for pointing out some of our challenges moving to the residential base reporting that's good. is an opportunity but it ties into other nuances in the tribal lands we don't necessarily have street addresses so how do we match that po box? we have to look at the systems that we use to build the map and methodologies and the challenges as chair of the council looking at tribal engagement seriously to put together different teams not just tribal leadership spent
5:08 pm
those specialists how do we work with the it department and has to be a multi- pronged approach and then to create a help desk but what we need to do is to go to each community and use our local networks and trusted partners to invite them to workshops we are planning one next week and one after christmas to bring together our tribal teams with an off-line map and we will zoom in on the neighborhoods by having them in the room. >> let me asked you a follow-up is the january 13
5:09 pm
day and left times. >> absolutely not the will work like crazy until we hear there is an extension we desperately need broadband and people are hurting and the services are compromised to get broadband deployed as fast as possible but to create funding allocations that might not be in the interest of those same communities that would be a miss for this generational opportunity with this funding. >> now providers seeking to serve rural markets paid to connect each subsequent customer the sec has interpreted the mandate for support for this high-class buildout with lifeline to
5:10 pm
subscribers and the affordable connectivity program with the federal support for capital expenditures and discounts your testimony recommends for the universal service but into chart the path forward please answer if the future of universal service includes the following priorities? direct support for capital expenditures? >> direct support for discounts for eligible households? direct support for telehealth and remote telemedicine quick. >> very much so. >> for secure broadband for teachers and students where
5:11 pm
they access educational tools quick. >> absolutely. >> digital literacy and inclusion and equity initiatives to ensure adoption follows closely with affordability and access? >> yes. >> i agree and i am hopeful as we look to identify together a permanent solution to close the digital divide investment is historic but the funding for broadband is not permanent. the digital divide will not disappear when funding runs out that's an important conversation for us all to face i agree with your written testimony with approval for access especially among
5:12 pm
federal agencies recently myself and senator barrasso road a letter this should be looked at from the perspective of broadband we had a horrific storm and a flood resulting in a declaration of emergency presented and adopted female authorized the easement from dia it should have taken a year or two to reestablish a row that was dirt it took more than a decade. that's why i appreciate the conversation that could not occur with this initiative so i am hopeful we can address those issues as well the first
5:13 pm
tribally owned telecom company began in south dakota which i learned a lot more about the cheyenne river buying a private company from new mexico to be lead the association in the past a model where the tribal consortium with their own networks and these have reduced broadband cost by 95 percent and increase peas dramatically do you believe tribally owned networks can build the same self-sufficient and thriving communities? >> absolutely the success of
5:14 pm
those that speak to the ability of tribal isps to participate successfully and those projects i have done we are new entrants into the space i heard comments and concerns about sustainability and that is fair but we also need to look at how we will achieve sustainability as we are proving we can build and maintain these networks with very robust connections in these communities the cost did go down the fees went up by over 3000 percent so we can do tremendous work looking at sustainability we need to come
5:15 pm
back with congress and look at a path for sustainable funding but also access but if the barrier to that looking at the alternative models in the regulatory framework for the atc designation can be modified broadband only options if we can look at flexibility in accessing that i think that will speak to the sustainability of these networks. >> coming back to the other members of the panel. >> thank you mr. chairman it's
5:16 pm
nice to take advantage. a quick question about developing what are the difficulties that you face are there any we haven't discussed the committee should be aware of? how can the fcc best to ensure the broadband maps are accurate quick. >> recognize in the unfortunate history to undertake pilot programs to evolve and deploy on a pilot basis in missouri and virginia we can do so if we were aggressively seeking the types of data that need to contribute to more refined mapping processes.
5:17 pm
but also proprietary data sets and other sophisticated data analysis we presented those pilots and the underlying locations very glad they adopted that as the framework we absolutely have an opportunity in the short time to deploy dollars by the end of june have ever find deeply ingrained set of maps and the geocoding meccas the mechanism to more accurately know where broadband is or isn't so we are confident or optimistic
5:18 pm
the maps could iterate to a place to have confidence as long as we collectively with the community partners to work towards ensuring the process to move nimbly and quickly and effectively. >> with anyone else care to weigh in? >> those that close the digital divide to speak not just to the accuracy but how we use the map and designed it as a tool. speaking from education in our schools how are they categorized on the map power other health centers characterized? is not just for the baseline
5:19 pm
data but also the planning tool the more dynamic it is the more the anchor institutions are included for those that include the different sectors and that will help us realize america's broadband. >> most communities are not conducting that challenging process as kimball so more could conduct the process they are also learning about broadband while they are there. >> great panel thank you so much. >> to move past the question , do any of your companies intentionally discriminate while providing service? >> no.
5:20 pm
>> absolutely not. >> i appreciate that. for company were to intentionally discriminate with that violate existing statute prior to passage? >> i think that would depend race and gender have all those would reach that depending on how onerous her animus was involved classic redlining is prohibited different ways' i'm just not familiar with all the ways you could violate that i do think the ij aa created a architecture specifically to focus on that and that will become more clear. >> section 506 was very explicit of antidiscrimination approach and we believe intentional discrimination is the core principle to use to
5:21 pm
evaluate if there is any discriminatory content it is viable and must be the basis we've also found that intentional discrimination as applied for areas like housing and handicapped americans. and employment that is a viable standard that could be employed in this instance. >> if i was asked the question if they were discriminate if that word violate statute i would say yes. the reason i'm asking that particular question is with the proceeding taking place of clarification, it seems no one
5:22 pm
is intentionally discriminating that representing the largest members in particular areas for connectivity across america, if that is the case is not a problem and existing statutes are already protected. >> i would have to evaluate that with greater care but generally speaking that of our members have any intention to discriminate. we are confident the intention of section of the iha a is sufficient for the rulemaking as long as it is based on intentional discrimination at the core principle.
5:23 pm
>> i would add we are confident to pass any test for the way we build our network we build to the entire footprint and have for many decades and upgrade consistently and we share data you cannot find differences very easily between wealthy areas and our footprint or find many distinguishing factors so we feel very good and we will work with the sec to all be clear we are in compliance. >> so as a follow-up with the passage of legislation of the house and the senate does congress give the sec the
5:24 pm
authority in order to promote equal access to broadband with another quality of service quick. >> the reason i'm asking that question as we chatted before the questions we had surrounding one of the filings around the safe harbor with the recent rules and i'm asking that it is concerning from the perspective of the history that shows that companies use of feasibility to not serve entire neighborhoods or communities has been used in i'm hoping that do have a reaction to
5:25 pm
that? >> and but i'm hoping that moves forward is what has been agreed on by everybody it is to connect to the country that loopholes are not created to be in behind. in some communities were it is not economically feasible or even in the previous filing just because something is not technically feasible does not mean it is not economically feasible. did i get that correct? >> this is back in 2019 or 2020. we can come back but nonetheless come it has been
5:26 pm
my experience and with the public utilities to different parts of america fremont i'm sorry to describe those but nonetheless from what i did was very proud of my experience at the time the communities would be told they could not be built in and someone says we can do that now. i just don't want to see that. that's the point i'm raising a loophole that lets you say no you cannot do it then all of a sudden it is possible as we work on these rules.
5:27 pm
this is something i will be looking at closely to make sure that we don't have loopholes like that created because to have this investment at the level that it is still not convinced it will cure all the problem that most of the problems to have rural communities and first responders and for them to be loopholes to guarantee that even though there is money it will be connected and that's one of my ultimate goals to have a hearing like this to bring this together. you all will be critically important to how this gets done and i pray that it will be. i'm very familiar with the work that has been done in new
5:28 pm
mexico for years but especially now with the decisions that have been made going back to the 2020 funding and the spectrum allocations especially with sovereign and indigenous communities and how we get that right i pray we get this done but you are all important and it means a lot to have you here. and for those over the last few years i've had the honor of working with him as well. on the subcommittee i hope to continue working we don't always felt the same that i appreciate the conversations i have i also want to thank alex
5:29 pm
but to help prepare mr. student in the subcommittee with all colleagues on the other side of the aisle it's all incredible staff we depend on every day into all the staff here today happy holidays and stay safe you have a lot of work in front of you. thank you again. we are adjourned.
5:30 pm
[inaudible conversations]
5:31 pm
>> this week, watch washington journals official holiday week featuring live segments each morning with a new writer. coming up wednesday morning, the senior fellow at the manhattan institute and contributing editor of city journal discusses his book homelessness in america -- the history and tragedy of an
5:32 pm
intractable social problem. watch washington journal live wednesday morning starting seven eastern for special authors week series on c-span or on c-span now, our free mobile video app. >> fridays at 8 p.m. eastern, c-span brings you after words by book tv where nonfiction authors are interviewed on their latest books. this week, entrepreneur and aol -fnder shares his book where he talks about the effort to create startup opportunities, spur innovation and generate jobs across the country. he is interviewed by the atlantic magazine's ceo. watch every friday at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these
5:33 pm
television companies and more, including cox stop >> homework can be hard. but being in a diner for internet access can be harder. cox connect. >> cox supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> california democratic congressman jackie spear is retiring from congress after 15 years. she sat down to reflect on her life and career in politics and talks about her works on sexual assault in the military, gun violence and other issues. first, her farewell speech from the floor of the u.s. house. farewell speech from the floor of the u.s. house. last speech on the house floor.
5:34 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on