Infrastructure Meetings Underway

Trump administration officials are set to be on Capitol Hill today “talking to my staff” about its infrastructure proposal, Thune told reporters Tuesday, noting his staffers have offered the White House ideas. The package, which may not be released until after the State of the Union on Jan. 30, is likely to address broadband in one way or another and could be a vehicle for lawmakers’ broadband proposals. “I don’t think there’s anything that’s really started to solidify yet,” Thune said of the White House plan. “I think we’re probably a ways off from a final infrastructure answer but a lot of good ideas in the works. The question is how you pay for it.”

Source: Politico Morning Tech

The Trump administration is eyeing multiple “work streams” to help speed along broadband deployment, the National Economic Council’s Grace Koh told reporters Friday: easing the permitting process on federal lands; letting towers built on federal lands also include infrastructure from telecom companies; and using dark fiber agencies have deployed to help rural providers through interconnection agreements. “We’ll also look at funding sources,” Koh added, noting the existence of “funding sources for both broadband deployment and adoption scattered across the federal government” and a plan to look at “how we can coordinate those funding sources and bring them together in order to get the maximum effect for the subsidy.”

But senior administration officials weren’t prepared, when asked later in the call, to say the degree to which the Trump White House aspires to close the digital divide or provide a dollar estimate for what the administration may be interested in spending. Keep an eye out later today for the administration’s release of recommendations from the Rural Prosperity Task Force, counting Cabinet members and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai among its members.

Source: Politico Morning Tech

There is a lot of sorting out going on in Washington. The final broadband infrastructure initiative is still far from done. We will continue to monitor. The first big clue should come from the State of the Union Message by President Trump. Stay Tuned.

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