June 11, 2024

Senator Schmitt Sends Letter Calling Out the Biden Administration’s Illegal Covert Broadband Rate Regulation

WASHINGTON — Today, Senator Eric Schmitt sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding their unlawful pressure campaign on states by the Biden Administration to regulate broadband rates through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. The letter highlights NTIA’s covert strategy to mandate pricing on state proposals which will lead to fewer people connected and less competition:  

“Revealingly, NTIA’s latest feedback in its so called “curing process” seems to provide that meeting statutory requirement is in fact not satisfactory and that the only low-cost option acceptable must be established as “an exact price or formula” in order to receive funding. In requiring this, your agency is now conditioning BEAD funding on a set price, effectively rate regulating service providers and willfully violating the law,” reads the letter.  

“If you and Secretary Raimondo continue to pursue this strategy of double talk that NTIA is simply giving preference to states that agree to a specific price and not mandating a specific rate, please know that I along with fellow colleagues on the committee plan to use the fullest extent of our oversight authority to hold you accountable,” continues the letter.


  • All 50 states have applied through the BEAD program to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas.
  • Congress expressly prohibited NTIA from regulating the rates charged for broadband service in the authorizing language that created the BEAD program.
  • As part of the BEAD program, states are required in their initial proposal to submit a low-cost service option as a condition of receiving funding, however states were given flexibility in how they determine low-cost based on individual factors unique to the state. 
  • Unfortunately, NTIA has determined that neither the letter of the law or unique factors that affect each state are suitable for their approval.
  • Instead, as revealed through recent communication between NTIA and the State of Virginia, NTIA states that an exact price is the only sufficient condition for funding.  
  • Currently, only eight states been approved for BEAD funding by NTIA, all of which ended up proposing a fixed price low-cost option. Missouri is one of the 42 remaining states who have yet to be approved.
  • NTIA has no authority to enact such policies and must be held accountable for its flagrant actions that will ultimately harm consumers.

Read the letter here.