— Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) saw among her House Energy and Commerce colleagues “a lot of agreement that we need to make certain NTIA is in shape to handle broadband and to push forward with this rural broadband expansion,” she told reporters Tuesday following a hearing on GOP draft legislation to reauthorize NTIA for the first time since 1992. The measure includes provisions aimed at empowering the Commerce Department agency to do more to boost broadband in rural areas. Blackburn’s interested in marking up the legislation ASAP: “I would like to get it wrapped up very soon.” Expect further conversation on a possible new provision to elevate the NTIA chief role to a sub-Cabinet position, “something that we’ve heard from many people that they think that we should do,” Blackburn added.
— House Democrats largely accepted the draft during Tuesday’s hearing without objections, although some said they wished the legislation would do more, such as include the AIRWAVES spectrum bill, H.R. 4953, which would open up federal spectrum for commercial use. Some also wanted testimony from NTIA chief David Redl. Blackburn expects a positive reception from NTIA, she told reporters: “I think they’re going to like what we have to offer.” The draft would create a new NTIA internet connectivity office, urge NTIA to continue broadband mapping work and call for a GAO 911 study.
Source: POLITICO Morning Tech [Emphasis Added]
Faster, please! Mapping is vital to the decision making process. If you do not know where the problem is, it cannot be fixed. Having valid maps should be an NTIA priority, as well as at the state levels, to ensure funds go to the areas that need broadband, and not be improving areas with existing broadband. Mapping accuracy is critical for the decision making process.