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Federal Policy Agenda

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Expanding Internet Connectivity and Promoting a Healthy Internet Ecosystem

TechNet views the internet as a vital tool for people’s access to information and empowerment.  With the rapid evolution of technologies, rising consumer demand for data, and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), TechNet believes that policymakers should promote greater broadband connectivity.  Broadband includes several high-speed transmission technologies such as cable, fiber, and fifth-generation communications technology or 5G, and is used below to refer to all of them in a technology neutral manner.  Policymakers should also support increased investment in broadband build out, and continued private investment in broadband networks and cloud services.  The urgent need to address this has become clearer during the COVID-19 pandemic.  TechNet supports:

·       Significant broadband funding as part of any infrastructure package that is targeted to efficiently connect unserved areas in a technology-neutral manner.  Funding should also be permitted for securing broadband infrastructure.

·       Policies that expand connectivity and internet access in unserved areas, including unserved anchor institutions to facilitate online learning and the delivery of telehealth services.

·       Policies that modernize the FCC’s Lifeline program, which supports connectivity for low-income households, including the ability for all broadband service providers to be part of the solution, and ensure seamless delivery of benefits and greater economic opportunity for consumers. 

·       Policies that will enable a more accurate and detailed map that identifies where broadband is unavailable with geographic precision, and funding to support them.

·       Policies that provide a safe and secure user experience and promote free speech, while responsibly addressing the use of internet platforms to spread disinformation.

·       Policies that facilitate continued private investment in broadband services and streamlined network infrastructure deployment, including at the local level.

·       Policies that promote public/private partnerships in deploying broadband connectivity.

·       Policies that foster a light-touch regulatory environment, for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and that support a competition-based model to spur innovation and private-sector investment to ensure the U.S. remains a leader in the race to 5G. 

·       Policies to increase the availability of licensed, unlicensed, and shared spectrum; and policies that promote accurate broadband mapping.

·       Policies that increase access to, and participation in, the provision of 5G services, including additional research and development funding and open-architecture systems such as open radio access networks. 

·       Responsible efforts to clear more federal spectrum for commercial use, especially in the mid-band that will be critical for powering next generation networks.

·       Federal policy initiatives that can expedite broadband deployment, such as “Dig Once,” and access to federal lands and buildings.

·       Technology-neutral policies that reduce burdens on communications service providers and ease restrictions on rights of way, cell tower siting, and permitting so that broadband buildout can expand rapidly.

·       Policies that promote broadband adoption and digital literacy.

·       Recognizing that the Domain Name System (DNS) is used in a widely distributed, multi-stakeholder manner and preserving its decentralized model that contributes to the internet’s safety, security, and reliability.

·       Lawmakers working together to enact comprehensive federal privacy legislation.

·       The principles of net neutrality and a fair and open internet.

·       Safeguards against intermediary liability.

·       Policies that protect children from online sexual exploitation, including increased federal resources to the Department of Justice for investigation and prosecution, as well as the preservation of strong encryption standards that protect both the privacy and safety of children.

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