Last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, was a big victory for manufacturers—but now that the bill has been made law, the NAM is still working to make sure funding is distributed effectively and efficiently to the programs and projects that need it. That includes action on $48 billion in federal funding for expanded broadband access and broadband infrastructure, which will be primarily disbursed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
With the NTIA in the early stages of designating and developing broadband priorities, the NAM recently reached out to submit a set of principles that the process should follow to ensure effective funding allocation.
- Strong national standards: The NAM supports uniform requirements and industry performance standards across the entire United States. Divergent state and regional regulations can hamper the development of broadband access and interfere with the IIJA’s goal of increasing signal availability broadly. The significant funding provided in IIJA presents a valuable opportunity to develop nationwide service standards, which will encourage the growth of our national economic connectivity.
- Transparency: “The NTIA should remain committed to transparency in both program requirements and project allocations,” said NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Ben Siegrist. “ Manufacturers in America support broadband expansion not only for the needs of their local communities, but as an asset to improve American commercial competitiveness in a global business marketplace. Transparency in federal allocations, clarity of purpose and reliability of federal partners will ensure that competitive benefits are achieved on behalf of all enterprises in all regions.”
- Fair, timely and efficient rollout: The NAM encourages the NTIA to develop a framework for investing the IIJA funds through open competition, thoughtful evaluation and without delay. Further, the NTIA can ensure a concise and efficient rollout by avoiding overly complicated language or regulatory processes.
The last word: “Manufacturers in America understand the overwhelming value that expanded broadband access and infrastructure will provide for communities, consumers and commercial enterprises in all corners of the country,” said Siegrist. “From domestic economic competitive advantage to improved livelihoods and neighborhoods, the NTIA’s mission through IIJA directives can dramatically and positively impact the success of our national shared interests.”