Last year, Thune reintroduced his STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, legislation that would update the Communications Act to better reflect developing technology and facilitate the rapid deployment of 5G networks to meet consumer demand by setting reasonable standards for public review of infrastructure siting while recognizing the unique challenges for small municipalities.
Click here to watch Thune’s opening remarks.
Thune’s opening remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Thank you Chairman Wicker for holding today’s hearing and to all of the witnesses for being here. We’ve seen that now, more than ever, as we rely on technology to do our jobs and stay connected to our family and friends, reliable internet connectivity is so vital to this country. Ensuring that all parts of the country have reliable access to broadband services is critical. Without access to these services, we wouldn’t have students continuing their education through distance learning, many parts of the country’s workforce wouldn’t be able to telework, and we wouldn’t be able to provide essential telehealth services to many individuals.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I've been encouraged by the performance of both mobile and fixed broadband networks in the United States. Carriers by and large are meeting consumers’ demands and, even with the unprecedented amount of traffic on our communications networks, they have stepped up to keep our country connected.
“This is much different from what we are seeing in other parts of the world. Take for example Europe, which has pursued a more heavy-handed regulatory approach to broadband services. This has resulted in far less investment in communications network expansion, and now today, we are seeing their networks struggle to keep up with the increased demands.
“Because of the light-touch approach to broadband regulation by the federal government in the United States, we’ve seen access to these critical services expand significantly, including to some of the most rural areas of this country. If we want the Internet to continue to thrive and serve as an engine for economic innovation and advancement, we should ensure that our policies continue to encourage more investment by the private sector in our communications infrastructure.”