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Congressman Tim Walberg

Representing the 7th District of Michigan

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Technology and Communications

Rapid technological innovation is changing the way we communicate, how we work and access information and entertainment, and revolutionizing everything from agriculture and the auto industry, to manufacturing and medicine.

As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I am working to ensure the benefits of the internet are accessible for all families and business in Michigan, while promoting a regulatory environment which allows for continued technological growth and innovation.

Promoting Innovation

America is a nation built on innovation and our companies are on the leading edge of these transformations.  Congress has a role to play in ensuring future innovations can flourish free from undue interference, as the only way the federal government can keep pace with innovation is by promoting a light-touch regulatory approach that enables the digital economy to thrive.

In March 2018, the FCC released its proposed wireless infrastructure order that would save Americans an estimated $1.56 billion. The proposed order would not only expand broadband access for more Americans, including the expedited roll out of 5G, but the savings also could create more than 17,000 jobs.

Closing the Digital Divide

As a member of the Rural Broadband Caucus, I understand that expanding broadband deployment to rural America is important so that these residents are connected and can compete in our global economy.  Serving rural America poses unique challenges, and there are still far too many individuals who lack access to broadband internet and the benefits it offers. There is no simple fix to closing this “digital divide,” but Congress can take important steps to expand access to high-speed internet.  I support efforts to reduce barriers to broadband deployment, including cutting red tape, encouraging greater competition among broadband providers, and working with federal agencies to deploy universal service funding to unserved and underserved communities in an effective and responsible manner.

In March 2018, I voted in support of H.R. 4986, RAY BAUM'S Act, which was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act and signed into law by the President on March 23, 2018. The legislation reauthorized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the first time in 28 years, including reforms to ensure the commission continues to improve its efficiency and transparency. The bill included $600 million in appropriated funding for a new pilot grant and loan combination program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide broadband to under-served rural and tribal areas.

The reauthorization also included provisions promoting broadband Internet access service for veterans, in particular low-income veterans and veterans living in rural areas. By March 23, 2019, the FCC must provide findings and recommendations for Congress with respect to such access and how to promote such access to our nations veterans.

Very importantly, the legislation advances proposals that would help the FCC and law enforcement protect consumers from fraudulent telephone calls, and to educate Americans about their options to stop these harassing calls.

On July 23, 2018 I voted in favor of H.R. 3994, Access Broadband Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support. The legislation establishes an office to provide for a single point of contact in order to streamline management of federal broadband resources across multiple agencies, creating a simpler process for small businesses and local economic developers to access them. The bill also includes informational workshops for local businesses and economic developers. 

Expanding Access to Spectrum

From smartphones, to tablets, to the Internet of Things, a myriad of new connected devices come online each day.  Unlocking additional spectrum is key to meeting the growing demands of mobile broadband and I am working to identify better ways to expand access to and improve the efficiency of the federal government's use of spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed use.  

Preserving a Free and Open Internet

The internet has been a catalyst for economic growth over the past 20 years because it has remained unfettered from undue government regulation and interference.  In light of the FCC order to restore the open internet framework that existed prior to 2015, it is time for Congress to codify a light-touch regulatory framework while also establishing clear and permanent protections for consumers.  Please know I am a committed to working with my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee to advance a bipartisan legislative solution that protects a free and open internet and encourages greater broadband investment to help close the digital divide.

Self-Driving Vehicles

Michigan has been at the forefront of automotive innovation since the inception of the automobile, and the development of self-driving vehicles is the next chapter in American auto story.  We must establish a federal framework that ensures these vehicles are safe for passengers and the public, while also encouraging timely testing and deployment that allows us to remain the world leader.  I worked with my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee to develop the SELF DRIVE Act, a bipartisan initiative to allow for the development, testing, and deployment of self-driving cars.  The SELF DRIVE Act passed the House unanimously in September 2017 and you can learn more about this landmark initiative here.

Legislation

11/30/17 – Cosponsored Legislation: H.R.3787, Small Entity Regulatory Relief Opportunity Act of 2017
11/29/17 – Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 2345, National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act
09/05/17 – Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 3388, SELF DRIVE Act

More on Technology and Communications

September 10, 2018 Press Release
With the new school year underway, I invite students to participate in this fun opportunity to innovate and gain hands-on experience in STEM fields.
August 29, 2018 Opinion Editorial
For many rural communities here in Michigan, access to reliable and affordable broadband internet, and the benefits it offers, remains a challenge.
April 11, 2018 Press Release
During an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Congressman Walberg asks Mark Zuckerberg about concerns regarding data privacy and content bias.
March 6, 2018 Press Release
The bipartisan, bicameral bill will reauthorize the FCC and support the deployment of next-generation wireless services.
September 6, 2017 Press Release
Autonomous vehicles offer a promising future with the potential to reshape transportation and save lives.