U.S. Representative John Curtis (R-UT) recently sponsored bipartisan legislation that would require federal agencies to review broadband infrastructure permits on federal rights-of-way within a reasonable timeframe and set a fair license fee to build a broadband infrastructure on land in rural and tribal America.
“In many of the rural communities that I have the privilege to represent, people look forward to reliable broadband service,” said Representative Curtis. “The problem is they are crippled by Washington, DC bureaucrats who are completely out of touch with the realities millions of Americans face and especially when it comes to the availability of broadband.”
Representative Curtis introduced the Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act, HR 3970, with original co-sponsor U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) on June 17 to increase Internet access in the regions rural America by easing some of those regulatory burdens, according to his office.
“Mr. O’Halleran and I both represent very similar districts geographically and both share parts of the Navajo Reservation, which lags behind in its technological capabilities, but not for lack of trying,” the representative said. Curtis. “Sensible, bipartisan, cost-effective reforms such as these will ensure that every parent, student, patient, healthcare provider and business owner has the reliable internet access necessary to succeed in the digital age . ”
If enacted, the legislation would specifically grant federal agencies the ability to approve an occupancy license authorizing the deployment of all equipment required to deploy broadband service on a federal right-of-way, according to a summary of the bill. provided by Representative Curtis’ office. .
Additionally, HR 3970 would create a 30-year license agreement with the ability for occupants to automatically renew that license and would require each federal agency to set license fees based on a set of market conditions, the summary says.
Federal agencies would be required to respond to a broadband license request within 60 days of receiving the request and provide an explanation for the denial if the request is denied, and the licenses would be automatically approved after 60 days if the agency did not consider the request, according to the summary.
The measure was approved by NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association; USTelecom – The broadband association; and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association.