Vol. 18, No. 6
February 7, 2022
INCOMPAS to NTIA: Broadband Infrastructure Money
Must Build Competition, Not Monopolies
INCOMPAS filed comments with the NTIA urging the Department of Commerce to enshrine competition laws into the Infrastructure Act implementation to ensure all Americans have access to faster speeds and future-proof networks at more affordable prices.

The INCOMPAS filing details a road map to help NTIA deliver on the promise of connecting all Americans to better internet services while creating jobs, attracting investment and unleashing innovation. INCOMPAS member companies lead the nation in deploying faster speed networks, providing low-cost growth solutions for businesses and connecting remote and rural communities with fiber, 5G and beyond.

“Simply put, our members have proven that competition works and monopolies fail. Markets with multiple providers, wholesale access and new fiber builders have faster speeds and the lowest prices. Access to competition helps families save and small businesses grow, and we urge NTIA to build on competition laws and results as it formulates the rules and policies for these broadband infrastructure programs,” INCOMPAS writes in its NTIA filing.

The INCOMPAS filing also highlights competition laws and policies have a proven track record of success, and urge NTIA to make rules and policies that are congruent with other Federal Agencies and the White House Executive Order on Competition:

“Competition laws that promote faster deployment, increased speeds and ongoing affordability solutions have a proven record of success in past NTIA programs and have been embraced by other federal agencies, including the Department of Treasury, Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture. In addition, the 2021 White House Executive Order on Competition should serve as a guide for NTIA in this proceeding as well. Ultimately, competition is the key to unlocking both innovation and private investment, elements that are essential to the goal of connecting all Americans and replacing old, slow and obsolete network infrastructure that is holding back investment, education and the jobs of the future from being made in the USA,” INCOMPAS noted.

INCOMPAS and its members were strong advocates for the bipartisan infrastructure law, and the early backers of proposals by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) in the House and the bipartisan BRIDGE ACT in the Senate sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Angus King (I-ME) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). It launched the BroadLand USA campaign last year to promote “internet for all” and highlight the need for the United States to win the global broadband speed race with China, Europe and other nations who have faster speed goals and massive fiber investment.
USAC Releases National Verifier Report Data
USAC released its National Verifier annual report and data on January 31, which provided a summary of its rollout and outlined how it meets the FCC’s key objectives to protect against waste, fraud and abuse in the Lifeline Program. It also provided an update on its status, including actions taken to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the National Verifier was used to verify eligibility for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
NARUC Releases Draft Resolution Sharing Broadband Data
NARUC released draft resolutions for its winter policy summit, taking place February 13. One of the resolutions proposes to ensure federal and state entities collaborate, share data and track progress on closing the digital divide utilizing various federal programs, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Ringless Voicemail Robocalls Item Circulated at FCC
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated a declaratory ruling and order that would require callers to obtain a consumer’s consent before delivering a ringless voicemail. The item responds to a petition filed by All About the Message, which asked the commission to find delivery of a message directly to a consumer’s cell phone voicemail is not a call protected by the TCPA and ringless voicemails are, in fact, calls that require consumers’ prior express consent.
White House Releases Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guide
The White House released this week a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law guidebook to provide information so you know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. This guidebook is a roadmap to the funding available under the law, as well as an explanatory document that shows direct federal spending at the program level. You can read more about broadband funding here.