Broadband Green by Richard Patterson is licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED via Flickr

Today, Americans for Tax Reform led a coalition of 28 groups in a letter to Republican Congressional Leadership expressing concern over NTIA’s illegal rate regulation on broadband internet service. NTIA is pressuring states, most notably Virginia, to impose a $30 per month price mandate to participate in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. 

The coalition urges Congress to hold NTIA accountable for its bureaucratic overreach and demand the release of BEAD funds to Virginia. The Infrastructure Law explicitly prohibited rate regulation by NTIA, making the agency’s actions unlawful and unhelpful in connecting unserved areas. 

A copy of the coalition letter can be found here or below: 

March 7, 2024 

Re: NTIA’s Illegal Rate Regulation  

Dear Speaker Johnson, Minority Leader McConnell, Chairwoman McMorris Rodgers, and Ranking Member Cruz: 

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are alarmed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s illegal rate regulation for broadband internet service. NTIA is weaponizing the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program to force a $30 per month price mandate on all states that participate in BEAD. This is a direct violation of federal law.  

As section 60102(h)(5)(D) of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act plainly states: “Nothing in this title may be construed to authorize the Assistant Secretary or the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to regulate the rates charged for broadband service.” Congress could not have been more explicit in barring NTIA from setting rates, which is counter-productive to broadband expansion according to all available research. 

NTIA is abusing the program to price fix by proxy through state broadband offices, despite NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson’s promise that his agency would not require rate regulation at a December 5, 2023, hearing before the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee. By rejecting all applications a state submits until the desired price point is included, NTIA holds federal BEAD dollars hostage until state governments price fix for them, a form of administrative blackmail.  

The most flagrant example is the Virginia Office of Broadband’s Volume 2 application. As memorialized by the office’s director in the attached December 6, 2023, letter, NTIA rejected the Commonwealth’s application because “the low-cost option must be established in the Initial proposal as an exact price or formula [emphasis added].” Virginia has proposed multiple compromises between their desired market-driven approach to middle class affordability and NTIA’s preferred $30 per month mandate, but all have been rejected. NTIA may try to hide behind the fig leaf of state-level cut-outs, but their repeated rejections of reasonable alternatives betray their agenda.  

Now that the agency has demonstrated its disregard for the law and a willingness to subvert Congressional intent, we urge you to swiftly hold NTIA accountable for its lawlessness and demand the release of BEAD funds to states that have met the criteria duly enacted by Congress, not arbitrarily imposed by political appointees in the Biden Administration.  


Grover G. Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform 

Steve Pociask, American Consumer Institute 

Tom Hebert, Open Competition Center 

James Erwin, Digital Liberty 

Edward Longe, James Madison Institute  

Lorenzo Montanari, Property Rights Alliance 

Nathan Leamer, Digital First Project 

David Williams, Taxpayer Protection Alliance 

Jeff Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom 

Phil Kerpen, American Commitment 

Barlett Cleland, Innovation Economy Alliance 

Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste 

Curt Levy, Committee for Justice 

Jonathan Cannon, R Street Institute 

Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation 

Jim Dunstan, TechFreedom 

Evan Swartztrauber*, Foundation for American Innovation 

Jeff Westling*, American Action Forum 

Mario H. Lopez, Hispanic Leadership Fund 

Benita Cotton-Orr, High Grounds Consulting/Georgia Second Friday Meeting 

Karen Kerrigan, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council 

Gerard Scimeca, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy 

Yael Ossowski, Consumer Choice Center 

Jason Pye, FreedomWorks 

Kevin Riffe*, West Virginia Center-Right Coalition 

David Miller, Center Right Southwest Ohio 

Stephen Stepanek*, Former NH GOP Chair 

Tim Jones*, Former Speaker, Missouri House 

* – Indicates Individual