Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Capito, Tester, Moran Bill on Broadband Supply Chain Passes Committee

May 11, 2022

NET Act will ensure broadband infrastructure projects  remain on track by identifying supply chain gaps early

Bill now heads for a vote to the full Senate

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Shelley Moore Capito, Jon Tester, and Jerry Moran applauded the Senate Commerce Committee’s unanimous vote to pass the Network Equipment Transparency (NET) Act. The bipartisan legislation would increase broadband supply chain transparency in order to ensure an on-time rollout of the broadband programs managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The bill will next need to pass a full vote in the Senate.

Broadband infrastructure projects have been affected by supply chain woes in the past. A lack of transparency into the health of the telecommunications supply chain may contribute to future equipment shortages as federal broadband programs prioritize high-speed, reliable, and accessible networks. The bill would identify these supply chain issues earlier so they can be addressed.  

“We’re connecting every household in America to affordable, high-speed internet, and supply chain issues can’t slow us down,” said Senator Hickenlooper.

“As we begin to deploy more broadband from the bipartisan infrastructure law, it’s critical we keep these projects as insulated as possible from the negative impacts of the supply chain crisis,” Senator Capito said. “I’m pleased our committee advanced this bipartisan legislation today because connecting West Virginians with reliable, high-speed internet remains our priority, and the NET Act would provide us with another tool to monitor the supply chain so these crucial projects can be executed in a timely manner.”

Full text of the bill is available HERE.

Specifically, the bill would require the FCC’s Communications Marketplacet Report to describe to Congress the impact of supply chain disruptions on the deployment of broadband service projects.

The Senate is also working to reinforce supply chains by passing the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) which would provide an emergency appropriation of $52 billion to boost American semiconductor chip manufacturing and $1.5 billion for next-generation Open-Radio Access Network (Open-RAN) technologies.

USICA also contains Hickenlooper’s provision to counter Chinese manufacturers’ dominance of the telecommunications equipment industry. The Telecommunications Supply Chain Diversity Promotion Act would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to fund a $20 million research program at the Institute of Telecommunication Sciences in Boulder, Colorado. Semiconductor chips and next-generation communications components are key parts of building resilient broadband networks.

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