Broad-Based Array of Organizations Encourage NTIA to Prioritize Accurate Data and Mixed-Technology Approach to Connect as Many People as Rapidly as Possible
In response to a notice from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seeking input on the implementation of broadband programs authorized by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a diverse range of leaders have responded, encouraging the agency to prioritize accurate data and a technology neutral approach to bridge the digital divide for as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
Organizations, including the American Telemedicine Association, National Grange, National Rural Education Association, Progressive National Baptist Convention, National Baptist Convention of America and Connect Americans Now (CAN), joined by 36 co-signers, have filed comment letters advocating for the NTIA to administer broadband resources with safeguards to prevent projects favoring one technology over others and to ensure the availability of accurate data for states and broadband providers.
Read what a broad-based array of voices from around the nation, representing leaders in agriculture, education, business, faith, health care, technology, veterans’ issues and more, are saying:
American Telemedicine Association:
“ATA Action supported broadband provisions included in the recently passed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will dedicate $42 billion toward closing the digital divide. This significant investment has the opportunity to positively change the lives of millions of unserved and underserved Americans — and to significantly increase access to critical telehealth services… The NTIA should continue to make third-party broadband data maps available so that broadband providers and applicants have as much information as possible to guide deployments and investments… We encourage NTIA to administer these programs guided by the technology-neutral approach outlined in the statute that prioritizes unserved areas. This ensures flexibility to shape and manage grants programs. Guardrails that support such an approach will allow broadband providers to deploy the best-suited technology to quickly and effectively get communities connected where consumers lack true broadband service… NTIA has an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that consumers in every American community have access to an affordable and reliable broadband connection and to the vital telehealth services that connection supports.” (
Connect Americans Now and 36 Co-Signed Organizations:
“When distributing broadband deployment funding, Connect Americans Now (CAN) encourages NTIA to distribute broadband deployment funding consistent with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which targets funding in a technology neutral manner at unserved and underserved areas as well as anchor institutions without limiting which broadband technologies are eligible for funding. As NTIA prepares to administer the $42 billion broadband deployment program, CAN and the co-signed organizations below urge NTIA to allocate these resources consistent with the legislation. This carefully crafted technology neutral approach allows broadband providers the flexibility they need to connect the greatest number of people as quickly as possible by leveraging the technology that is best suited for a given area. It allows for rapid deployment of broadband network solutions and maximizes the reach of government dollars in building networks and connecting consumers.”
“The National Grange was proud to support the passage of historic broadband provisions in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Over the next several years, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will disburse funds and implement programs established by this law to dedicate $42 billion in funding toward the vital national objective of expanding broadband and device access for Americans stuck behind the digital divide. The highest priority for new broadband deployment must be to connect the truly unserved first as mandated by Congress. Any program that permits an end run around or weakening of the ‘unserved’ definition and priority will lead to funding resources being diverted to areas that already have broadband and will undermine the goal of connecting all Americans. The National Grange encourages NTIA to administer these programs in line with the mixed-technology approach outlined by Congress — allowing states and broadband providers to use an all-of-the-above approach to technology that will maximize the reach and positive impact of deployment resources.”
National Rural Education Association:
“As a result of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has the tremendous opportunity to allocate $42 billion to help bridge the digital divide. These resources can make a substantial difference in the lives of unserved communities and bring greater digital equity to our nation. To achieve this goal, NTIA must ensure these broadband programs expand access to broadband internet and digital devices as efficiently and quickly as possible.”
“That is why NREA encourages NTIA to establish rules to ensure the resources deployed by these programs will be administered in a technology neutral manner that will allow broadband providers to use a variety of technologies to bring a reliable broadband connection to as many communities as possible. By not favoring one type of technology over another, broadband providers will be able to use the tools best suited to the unique areas that remain unserved. Technology neutrality is particularly vital in rural areas with low population densities or rugged landscapes that can make wired deployments cost prohibitive. Ensuring providers have the flexibility they need to tailor networks to the communities they aim to serve will allow dollars available through these programs to go farther and connect more Americans.”
Progressive National Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention of America:
“As pastors, we’ve seen our parishioners, who already faced higher mortality rates and higher rates of unemployment since the pandemic, see an exponential increase of these rates over the past two years, which is unfair and unsustainable. Our communities need access to affordable and equitable broadband services as soon as possible, and we believe that your timely action to ensure this must be a priority.”
“As the NTIA begins distributing $42 billion in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s funding for broadband services to communities, we urge lawmakers to do so in a way that gives everyone the best chance to succeed. This means a rapid, cost-effective, and tech-neutral deployment that provides our neighbors, friends, and families with access to the technologies that are essential to their daily lives, regardless of the infrastructure and economic circumstances that surround them.”
Founded in 2017, Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a broad-based coalition representing leading voices in agriculture, education, health care, veterans’ issues, technology and small business — committed to urgent action to completely eliminate the digital divide in every American community.
Read CAN’s full letter, signed my 36 member organizations, calling for NTIA to maximize effectiveness of broadband programs HERE.
Learn more about Connect Americans Now HERE.