U.S. SENATE —Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Kirsten Gillibrand ( D-NY) today introduced the bipartisan Streamlining and Investing in Broadband Infrastructure Act, which would help remove the government red-tape preventing rural Montanans from accessing the high-speed Internet necessary to compete in today’s digital economy.
“Rural Montanans need access to high-speed Internet to support local jobs and compete in the 21st century economy,” said Daines. “We cannot let government regulations stand in the way of the 41 percent of rural Montanans who still lack access to high-speed broadband.”
According to a recent report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 41 percent of rural Montanans still lack access to fixed broadband.
The Streamlining and Investing in Broadband Infrastructure Act would increase broadband deployment by cutting red tape for companies, states and local governments who want to install broadband infrastructure on federal land.
It would ensure states simultaneously install broadband conduits as part of certain federal transportation projects that involve constructing a new highway or adding an additional lane or shoulder — known as “dig once.” The bill establishes a “standard fee” to streamline leasing agreements involving the installation, construction and maintenance of a communications facility by instructing agencies in possession of federal government property or infrastructure to grant a real property interest to applicants, which may include states, wireless carriers or other organizations seeking to install communications facilities. Further, streamlining the siting process for wireless infrastructure on federal land will make deployment in underserved areas easier.