Wicker Explores Options to Expand Rural Broadband With Satellite Technology

Senator Seeks Multi-Technology Solution to Close Digital Divide

October 26, 2017

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, recently attended a hearing to receive testimony on the future of the commercial satellite industry and what role it would play in providing next-generation communications services to both rural and urban areas.

Wicker asked witnesses to comment on how satellite providers could be included in a comprehensive broadband infrastructure proposal and how current federal regulations affect satellite infrastructure investment.

The hearing is one in a series of Senate Commerce hearings exploring the potential for multiple technologies to expand broadband internet service to underserved and unserved areas, in both rural and urban settings.

Wicker has championed legislation to expand rural broadband services and to help close the digital divide. Last week, Wicker introduced the “SPEED Act,” or the “Streamlining Permitting to Enable Efficient Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure Act of 2017.” The measure would accelerate the deployment of new broadband infrastructure to both rural and urban areas by streamlining the permitting process for telecommunications equipment that is installed in locations that have already been subjected to historical or environmental reviews.

Attendees of the hearing included: 

  • Ms. Patricia Cooper, Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, SpaceX
  • Mr. Mark Dankberg, Chief Executive Officer, ViaSat
  • Mr. Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat
  • Mr. Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman, OneWeb