& cplSiteName &

Sen. Schatz: No Big Infrastructure Bill Coming

Mari Silbey
2/17/2017
50%
50%

If there's any common ground between Democrats and Republicans in the US today, it's the agreement that government has a role to play in upgrading outdated American infrastructure. And with talk of a federal infrastructure bill in the works, there have even been hints of a possible bipartisan effort to use investment spending on critical infrastructure as a way to create jobs and build on the country's global competitive advantage.

Not so fast, says Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

"I worry a little bit about everybody trying to hitch a ride on an infrastructure package," Schatz declared at the Incompas 2017 Policy Summit held in Washington DC earlier this week. "I do not believe that we're going to have an infrastructure bill to tell you the truth."

Incompas CEO Chip Pickering (left) hosts Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) on the right in a discussion at the Incompas 2017 Policy Summit
Incompas CEO Chip Pickering (left) hosts Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) on the right in a discussion at the Incompas 2017 Policy Summit

The news may be disheartening to those in the technology and telecom industries, many of whom believe that broadband deployments could and should find their way on to a list of federal spending priorities. In fact, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said as much during the same Incompas conference where Senator Schatz also spoke.

"I've encouraged President Trump to include telecommunications as part of any infrastructure package that he presents to Congress," Senator Gardner stated.

However, according to Senator Schatz, there's not likely to be an infrastructure bill in the near term at all.

There are two major challenges. First, says Schatz, legislators have to work through an agenda that includes new cabinet appointments, judgeship nominations, the Affordable Care Act and more before infrastructure takes center stage. And second, even when lawmakers get around to infrastructure, "you have the same structural problem against an infrastructure bill that we had under President Obama," notes Schatz, "which is that we (Democrats) like infrastructure spending, [but] we do not like a tax subsidy for lenders who are making loans in the infrastructure space. That we do not consider to be an infrastructure package."

In other words, Democrats are going to want to set up a direct funding source for infrastructure, while Republicans are going to want to offer tax credits as a way of stimulating private investment instead.


Want to learn the latest on broadband technology developments? Sign up now for Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event on March 21-22, at the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver.


Regardless of how lawmakers expect to move forward with infrastructure, there is at least some public perception that legislative action is on the way -- not least because President Trump said in a policy statement just before he was elected that he wants to work with Congress to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next decade. And if that's not the case, then people in several industries, including telecom, are in for a rude awakening.

"As we think through a broadband deployment agenda," Schatz says, "as we think through infrastructure priorities in the tech space, don't necessarily hitch your wagon to a bill which is now just a twinkle in someone's eye. There is no bill yet. There is no consensus. There is no real working group. There is no approach yet."

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/22/2017 | 3:29:58 PM
,,,
"If there's any common ground between Democrats and Republicans in the US today, it's the agreement that government has a role to play in upgrading outdated American infrastructure."

I'm not even really sure they have that. GOP generally isn't keen on either subsidizing broadband in the face of low ROI coverage gaps, and neither party is too keen on upsetting deep pocketed campaign contributors unhappy with efforts to actually bring more competition to bear on specific markets. 
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX at ANGA COM

6|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


At ANGA COM 2017, Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX, updates Alan Breznick with VeEX's new products and technology. This includes VeSion cloud-based platform for network monitoring, AT2500-3G advanced spectrum analyzer and MTTplus-900 WiFi Air Expert module. He also comments on DOCSIS 3.1 deployment and Remote PHY technology.
LRTV Custom TV
The Overall Objective Is to Win the Game

6|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


SCTE•ISBE's Chris Bastian discusses Energy 2020's success to date and the importance of a flexible approach that allows for changes in specific strategies in order to reach significant milestones.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Does AT&T Deserve Time Warner?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2017
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.