March 13, 2018

Senator Hassan Highlights Need to Improve Broadband Infrastructure During Commerce Subcommittee Hearing


Click here for video of the Senator’s questions during the hearing.

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan today highlighted the importance of improving and expanding broadband infrastructure during a Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee hearing. Senator Hassan specifically highlighted the AIRWAVES Act, bipartisan legislation she introduced with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to help free up more spectrum resources and invest in rural broadband initiatives.

Senator Hassan also noted her work with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on the Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Act of 2018, which they introduced to help close the digital divide and expand access to broadband in rural parts of the country.

Asked by Senator Hassan how these two bills would help reach connectivity goals and spur economic growth, CTIA Executive Vice President Brad Gillen said, “Absolutely, AIRWAVES and spectrum policy are key to solving this puzzle. When you look at the low-band spectrum we sold last year, that’s enabling carriers now to reach rural America … As you alluded to, one of the unique things in AIRWAVES is the idea of the rural dividend and that money raised through the auction would go back into rural deployment.”

Competitive Carriers Association CEO Steve Berry said, “Thank you so very much for not only your interest in those two bills but in general in support of broadband deployment. We totally agree, the AIRWAVES Act gives a roadmap on the type of spectrum that you can reasonably expect to be coming up and it will give carriers an opportunity to say ‘this is where I’m going to go in my deployment scenarios.’”

Senator Hassan also highlighted flaws in broadband mapping in New Hampshire and across the country, which “continues to be a serious challenge that throws off our efforts at ensuring adequate coverage, particularly in rural areas.” Senator Hassan noted that she joined a bipartisan group of Senators in a letter to the FCC regarding their recently released map, which shows most of New Hampshire as being covered, and therefore ineligible for support through the Universal Service program’s Mobility Fund.