The following remarks were pre-recorded.
Hello everyone! Welcome to the 2021 NTIA Spectrum Policy Symposium.
Thank you, Evelyn, for that kind introduction and for your remarkable leadership.
We learned during the pandemic that high-speed internet isn’t a luxury − it’s essential to everyday life, from jobs to healthcare and education. Yet today, 30 million Americans lack reliable or affordable broadband, and over 83 million aren’t fully connected at home – disproportionately those who are non-white and low-income.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building back a better, more equitable economy where no one is left behind. Which means it’s time to close the digital divide.
That’s why the Department of Commerce is making historic investments in broadband infrastructure to connect all Americans to high-speed internet.
NTIA is managing three broadband funding programs. Combined, these programs invest about $1.5 billion to get high-speed, affordable internet to rural, native and minority communities across the country.
But if want to reach every single American, we’ll need broader investments in broadband that are long overdue.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal aims to do just that by allocating $65 billion to building out our nation’s broadband across the country. Through those investments, we’ll also bring wireless services to all Americans.
However, to optimize wireless we need our physical broadband infrastructure to work alongside our invisible spectrum infrastructure. So much of our modern world is powered by spectrum − from commercial services like 5G to aviation, space travel and more.
Within the Commerce Department, many of NOAA’s most important missions depend on spectrum. For example, our weather radars need it to warn us about imminent thunderstorms, flash floods, and tornadoes. Our satellite observations require it for weather forecasting and climate projection models. And our hurricane-hunter aircraft use it to predict when storms will intensify.
Because of spectrum’s strategic importance across the board, we need a national spectrum strategy that involves all major governmental stakeholders.
The Department has been working closely with the FCC to ensure that the wireless industry has the spectrum it needs to fully deploy 5G across the country.
And because of our collaboration between federal agencies, the FCC and industry, the U.S. is leading the world in allocating mid-ban spectrum for 5G. We need more collaboration moving forward.
Next month, the FCC will begin another auction for mid-band spectrum that will help power advanced wireless services.
The Department of Commerce − through NTIA − is working closely with the FCC, the Department of Defense and the wireless industry to ensure the success of this auction.
Demand for wireless technology will only increase in the years ahead. Which is why the President has called for more investments in advanced wireless research, including support for 5G technologies.
These are the investments we need to fuel innovation in wireless technology, to close the digital divide, and to keep the American economy globally competitive. We have a terrific program lined up for you today, and we’re excited to hear your input.
Thank you again and enjoy the rest of your symposium! With that, I’ll turn it over to Charles.