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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, questioned U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a hearing regarding the department’s fiscal year 2023 budget priorities. Thune advocated for reliable broadband services to South Dakota’s rural communities and stressed the importance of 5G permitting. Earlier this week, Thune sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson outlining priorities for implementation of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA’s) broadband programs.
On broadband requirements:
“Let me start by just talking about the [Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment] program. In order for that program to be successful, we've got to encourage participation from all types of broadband providers, as long as they have met the objective, technical, financial, and operational standards set by NTIA, and any inclusion of burdensome requirements such as net neutrality, wholesale access, or rate regulations are only going to discourage participation.”
On 5G permitting:
“As you know, 5G connectivity will require hundreds of thousands of small cells and other equipment, and deploying this infrastructure can be unnecessarily burdensome and lengthy with multiple series of approvals required that lacks certainty with respect to if and when a governmental entity will grant approval. The type of approvals required and fees imposed for deployment of networks can be particularly problematic leading to delays in wireless infrastructure deployment, which is particularly concerning as we seek to deploy 5G as rapidly as possible throughout the United States. And last Congress, I had introduced a piece of legislation called the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act to address many of these issues.”