Most of us are extremely grateful to have the internet nowadays—it keeps manufacturers’ high-tech operations running and provides entertainment for our socially distanced evenings. But the U.S. needs continued, substantial investment in broadband access and will do so long after the pandemic is over. One reason, of course, is that manufacturing is increasingly high-tech and high-skilled, which means demand will keep rising for fast, reliable and universal connectivity.
So in light of our renewed appreciation of all things digital, here’s a quick reminder of the policies that the NAM is promoting, courtesy of NAM Director of Innovation Policy Stephanie Hall. As she puts it, the federal government needs to take the following steps:
- Modernize federal partnership programs and appropriate funds to increase broadband deployment in hard-to-serve areas and to close the digital divide.
- Fund broadband mapping efforts to help us understand where broadband is needed and who needs it most.
- Create a smart regulatory environment that allows the private sector to design, build, finance, operate and maintain our digital infrastructure.
Recent actions: The NAM—and manufacturers across the country—are calling on Congress to include broadband funding in its COVID-19 response. In a May letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the NAM asked Congress to “support investment in our broadband infrastructure system, maximize consumer choice in how they connect and reduce regulatory barriers that can slow manufacturers’ ability to deploy current and next-generation broadband infrastructure.”
As Congress continues to work on COVID-19 response funding, the NAM will keep pushing for broadband access.