Permitting Council Asks for Broadband Industry Coordination

The permitting council is working to streamline more broadband projects.

Permitting Council Asks for Broadband Industry Coordination
Photo of Eric Beightel at Fiber Connect

ORLANDO, Florida, August 21, 2023 – The executive director of the permitting council urged industry leaders at the Fiber Connect conference on Monday to engage with the permitting council to ensure that broadband builds are streamlined.

Feedback from the broadband industry on the challenges they face when building networks will help the permitting council understand what strategies they need to adopt to overcome those barriers, said Eric Beightel.

“Solutions are informed by industry engagement,” Beightel said.

The permitting council is a federal agency that facilitates coordination between federal agencies for environmental review and permitting for certain infrastructure projects. Beightel said the agency is working to ensure that the federal government collaborates and works consistently toward a common goal.

The council is working to include more broadband infrastructure projects to their list of covered projects, said Beightel. For covered projects, the permitting council coordinates with the responsible federal agencies, provides the entity with a timetable for permitting authorization, and intervenes in the case of delays or conflict.

It is working to build best practices for broadband projects to get through the permitting process in a reasonable time to ensure that broadband projects are being prioritized.

The permitting council is focused on creating durable process improvements that will withstand administration changes and to develop processes that will help the federal agencies be more efficient in intaking permitting applications and be more consistent in the information agencies ask of applicants.

Telecom industry leaders have pointed to permitting delays as a regulatory burden that could hinder the effectiveness of historical federal investments in digital infrastructure. Many experts are concerned that the permitting process will delay the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, which funds are set to be released in 2024.

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