Legislation proposed by Scalise aims to speed up U.S. broadband deployment

U.S. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) on June 25 introduced a measure that would hasten the nationwide deployment of high-speed broadband services.

“Federal red tape associated with broadband deployment must be simplified to reflect modern technology while also protecting consumers,” said Rep. Scalise. “Accomplishing this will ensure that America will remain the world’s leader in technology innovation and job creation.”

Rep. Scalise sponsored the Reducing Antiquated Permitting for Infrastructure Deployment (RAPID) Act, H.R. 7374, to modernize rules at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that he says prevent the timely approval of small cell 5G deployment nationwide.

“The United States is the global leader in wireless technology, and maintaining that dominance is more important than ever as the next generation of wireless technologies continues to deliver innovative services for families across America,” Rep. Scalise said. “The RAPID Act will provide clarity and certainty for providers who comply with environmental and historical regulations by modernizing rules at the FCC and accelerating the deployment of innovative 5G wireless technology.”

If enacted, H.R. 7374 would clarify that small cell deployments not be subjected to environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act, nor historical review under the National Historic Preservation Act, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Scalise’s office.

H.R. 7374 also would establish a court’s presumption that a wireless provider has completed a request for review if a tribal nation or Native Hawaiian Organization has received certain completed FCC forms related to deployment of new or collocated wireless facilities, the summary says.

The bill has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said he appreciated Rep. Scalise’s leadership in introducing the RAPID Act.

“Republicans are leading the way to close the digital divide for all Americans,” Rep. Walden added.

H.R. 7374 also is being reviewed by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.