Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Capito, Tester, Moran Reintroduce Bill to Strengthen Broadband Supply Chain

Mar 7, 2023

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

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Shelley Moore Capito, Jon Tester, and Jerry Moran reintroduced the Network Equipment Transparency (NET) Act, a bipartisan bill to increase broadband supply chain transparency through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to ensure an on-time rollout of federal broadband programs.

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. In anticipation of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds for broadband projects distributed to states later this spring, the bill would help to identify these supply chain issues so they can be addressed sooner.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is connecting every house in America to affordable, high-speed internet. Getting to the bottom of broadband supply chain issues will help us do it faster,” said Hickenlooper.

“One of the many benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Actbecoming law is that West Virginia and states across the country are slated to receive a significant amount of funding that will contribute to providing quality, high-speed broadband, which is welcome news—especially for those living in rural America,” Capito said. “In order to effectively connect our communities, it’s critical that our federal agencies work to address any potential problems that would slow or hinder this process of deployment. I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing the NET Act, which will provide us with another tool to monitor the supply chain so these crucial projects can be executed in a timely manner.”

“As a third-generation Montanan living outside a rural town, I know firsthand the challenges our rural communities face when it comes to reliable internet access,” said Tester. “That’s why I worked with folks on both sides of the aisle to craft the bipartisan infrastructure law which will bring high-speed internet to every corner of Montana. Now I’m leading the charge alongside my colleagues to increase transparency and address any supply chain issues head-on so that these projects get done on time, because Montana’s small businesses and rural families can’t wait any longer.”

“In this digital age, access to reliable internet can determine the success of farms, businesses and even health care in rural communities,” said Moran. “Adding transparency to the supply chains that support broadband infrastructure projects will help speed up the rollout of programs designed to increase internet activity for rural America.”

Specifically, the bill would require the FCC’s Communications Marketplace Report to describe to Congress the impact of supply chain disruptions on the timely completion or deployment of broadband infrastructure projects. 

The senators originally introduced the NET Act in the 117th Congress last February, and the bill passed the Commerce Committee in a unanimous vote last May.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.

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