Today, TechFreedom filed reply comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Public Notice requesting comment on the interagency agreement entered into among the FCC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) pursuant to the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act of 2020 (BICA) (the “BICA Agreement”). 

“Any interagency coordination must also include the Treasury Department,” said James E. Dunstan, TechFreedom’s General Counsel. “If the remaining Americans without access to broadband are to be served, all federal agencies must work together to maximize the reach of the unprecedented federal dollars now allocated for broadband deployment.” 

“‘Rip and Replace’ must be factored into the broadband deployment costs,” Dunstan continued, as it is needed to remove suspect Chinese equipment. “Much of this work may be between their current hub facilities and areas to be served for the first time. This is yet another impediment to getting broadband to those most in need. We urge the Commission to integrate these ‘rip and replace’ areas into the maps being developed, to make clear the true cost of future deployment.”

“States cannot game the system by producing their own maps,” Dunstan continued. “While states and tribes will play a critical role in assisting the FCC in developing accurate maps, some states have used questionable data and analysis to claim broadband is not available in places where it clearly is. The FCC should use its power—as specifically delegated by Congress—to ensure that the challenge process is not used to circumvent the will of Congress.”

“Interagency coordination should ensure technical neutrality,” Dunstan concluded.No one technology can solve the problem. The digital divide is not a single chasm over which you can build a single bridge. Rather, it is much more like a huge, sparsely populated mountain range. To reach each inhabitant, a variety of technologies is necessary. To that end, all federal agencies involved in this process need to remain technology-neutral.”  


Find this release on our website, and share it on Twitter. We can be reached for comment at Read our related work, including:

About TechFreedom:

TechFreedom is a nonprofit, nonpartisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.