Congressman Armstrong Introduces Legislation to Streamline Permitting for Broadband Infrastructure on Federal Lands

February 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) introduced the Enhancing Administrative Reviews for Broadband Deployment Act, which would require a study on barriers to reviewing requests within federal agencies to deploy broadband infrastructure on federal lands.

This legislation is part of a package of 28 bills introduced by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that aims to turbocharge public and private investment by promoting new and upgraded infrastructure deployments, boosting competition, streamlining permitting processes, facilitating broadband deployment on federal lands, and closing the digital divide in both rural and urban areas.

“The pandemic has proven that access to reliable broadband infrastructure is essential for thousands of North Dakotans across the state,” said Congressman Armstrong. “In North Dakota, broadband infrastructure often crosses federal lands, requiring federal permits, which can take years to achieve and prevent many rural and tribal communities from getting the broadband access they need. This bill would streamline the permitting process and make it easier for communities to increase connectivity.”

If passed, the Enhancing Administrative Reviews for Broadband Deployment Act would require the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture to:

  • Provide an assessment on programmatic or administrative barriers to reviewing communications use authorizations
  • Provide an assessment of whether there are rules or regulations that could be revised to improve the efficiency of reviewing communications use authorizations
  • Describe the process for prioritizing the review of communications use authorizations
  • Provide a plan to ensure adequate staffing to review communications use authorizations in a timely manner