Reps. Cammack, Matsui introduce bipartisan DIGITAL Applications Act to close digital divide
Press release from the Office of Congresswoman Kat Cammack
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-FL-03) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA-07) introduced the Deploying Infrastructure with Greater Internet Transactions And Legacy (DIGITAL) Applications Act, a bill requiring the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to establish an online portal for the acceptance, processing, and disposal of Forms 299 for communications use authorizations.
Standard Form 299 is the application for transportation, utility systems, telecommunications, and facilities on federal lands and property. This legislation would help to close the digital divide by making it easier to track siting applications through the deployment of a communications facility.
“In a world where digital is rapidly expanding in power and prominence by the day, broadband deployment across the nation is needed now more than ever,” said Rep. Cammack. “Especially in rural communities where millions still lack access to basic, affordable internet, such as those in Florida’s Third Congressional District, closing the digital divide is not a luxury, it’s an absolute necessity. The DIGITAL Applications Act takes vital steps in accomplishing this, which is why I’m proud to lead on this bipartisan effort with my colleague Congresswoman Matsui.”
“Many families and businesses across the country still lack access to broadband, which is a critical part of today’s economy,” said House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. “Energy and Commerce is leading to remove regulatory red tape, deploy broadband faster, get Americans across the country connected, and close the digital divide once and for all. The legislative package we’re unveiling today will help us connect all Americans, and I commend Rep. Cammack for her leadership on the DIGITAL Applications Act, which will help us achieve these goals.”
“As we work to close the digital divide, it is imperative that the federal government is a partner, not an obstacle, to deploying broadband,” said Rep. Matsui. “This bill will introduce needed transparency and accountability to the federal permitting process. By establishing a one-stop-shop online portal, we’re ensuring companies deploying broadband on federal lands have the information they need to bring connectivity to communities that lack it.”
The bill text can be found here.
It’s past time and many thanks to Rep. Cammack and Matsui. This is much needed and long overdue.