Today: Lawmakers Line Up Telecom Debate

— The House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee will meet at 1:15 p.m. for a hearing on a raft of telecom issues, including getting more broadband out to rural America and grappling with fallout from the EU’s sweeping new data privacy law. The hearing is pegged to GOP draft legislation to reauthorize the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for the first time since 1992. Many of the bill’s provisions focus on policy aims like creating a new NTIA internet connectivity office and directing a GAO study study on 911 issues, as detailed in the Republican staff memo . Reauthorization isn’t actually required for the Commerce Department agency’s operations.

— “Make no mistake, the bill before us today is a rural broadband bill, and a very important one at that,” Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) plans to say in her opening statement. “Many of us hear over and over again about the desperate need to connect unserved Americans, and we are willing to invest toward that goal, but we must ensure good stewardship of those dollars.” House E&C ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) is less impressed. The draft “fails to provide NTIA the authority and direction it needs to address America’s 21st Century needs,” he plans to say. “The Administration acknowledges the need for broadband infrastructure investment but President Trump and the Republican Majority have failed to act. We must think big in reauthorizing the NTIA.” He’ll also say he wishes NTIA Administrator David Redl could be there to testify.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech [Emphasis added]

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