Hearing On “Oversight Of The FCC”

Some highlights from the prepared Statement Of Chairman Ajit Pai

United States Leadership in 5G.

. . .the FCC is moving forward aggressively to hold auctions and move a substantial amount of spectrum into the commercial marketplace. On November 14, we plan on beginning our 28 GHz band auction, which will be quickly followed by our 24 GHz band auction. Then, in the second half of 2019, I intend to hold a single auction of spectrum in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. Combined, these auctions will make 4.95 GHz of spectrum available to the private sector and advance America’s global leadership in the deployment of the next generation of wireless connectivity, or 5G.

The FCC is also moving forward on other fronts to ensure that our nation is a pioneer in 5G. Earlier this month, we proposed to make more mid-band spectrum in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band available for flexible terrestrial use. In June, we proposed making spectrum in the 26 and 42 GHz bands available for flexible terrestrial use. In May, the Commission proposed to allow more efficient and effective use of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band by increasing flexibility for existing Educational Broadband Service licensees and providing new opportunities for educational entities, rural Tribal Nations, and commercial entities to access unused portions of the band. Earlier this year, we proposed in our Spectrum Horizons proceeding to allow for greater experimentation in very-high spectrum bands above 95 GHz.

[. . .]

Many of our regulations were designed for 200-foot towers, not small cells that can be the size of pizza boxes. That needed to change. And thanks to Commissioner Carr’s leadership, that is changing. Earlier this year, for example, we decided that small cells would no longer have to go through the same federal historic preservation and environmental review processes that were designed for traditional large towers. This common-sense step will expedite the deployment of small cells, cut the cost of deployment, and allow for the faster rollout of 5G.

[. . .]

The Commission has also given the green light to companies that want to send a large number of satellites into low-Earth orbit to provide high-speed broadband. These new networks promise much faster and more reliable satellite broadband services and could help us reach the hardest-to-serve areas.

[. . .]

Closing the Digital Divide.

From the beginning of my tenure as head of the agency, I’ve made clear that my top priority would be to close the digital divide. I take this issue personally, having grown up in a small town in rural Kansas. And in order to inform our efforts on how to connect unserved areas, I’ve travelled to 33 states and two U.S. territories and have logged nearly 9,000 road miles to learn about rural communities around the country. I’ve seen places that are using the Internet to open new doors of opportunity as well as towns that are being bypassed by the digital revolution. In the time to come, I’ll continue to visit these areas and keep the Commission’s eyes focused on how we can find innovative ways to address this critical challenge.

[. . .]

We also have to cut through the regulatory red tape and make it easier for broadband providers to invest in next-generation networks. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Among other things, we’ve modernized our rules to make it easier for companies to transition away from maintaining the fading copper networks of yesterday and toward investing in the resilient networks of tomorrow. We’re also taking action to make it easier and cheaper for providers to get access to utility poles and conduits.

[. . .]

Public Safety.

In recent months, the Commission has taken many important steps to improve public safety. A principal focus has been on improving our nation’s alerting systems: the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

These are only the highlights there are more information nuggets in the full text which is linked under the Government Tab.

RCRC: Rural Broadband

Rural Broadband

This week the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) held its fourth meeting where members heard multiple reports and recommendations to improve broadband deployment in rural areas.  The BDAC is an advisory board within the FCC that was created by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to make policy recommendations to close the “digital divide” between rural and urban America.  In his opening remarks, Chairman Pai asserted closing the digital divide is a top priority at the FCC.

The BDAC made a number of recommendations to close the divide by incentivizing private companies to invest in broadband infrastructure in rural areas.  The BDAC’s recommended approach is to remove regulatory barriers at the state and local level, streamline the federal siting process, and ensure competitive access to broadband infrastructure.  The meeting made headlines on Thursday after Axios.com reported San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo resigned from the BDAC after the panel recommended changes to municipal codes that were more favorable to internet-service providers.

Source: RCRC Barbed Wire Newsletter

Route Fifty on BDAC and San Jose Mayor Liccardo’s Resignation

After nine months of debate, things seemed to come to a head over the December holidays. According to Santosham, a representative from AT&T distributed a heavily rewritten draft of the committee’s municipal model code, making 800 changes.

“They gave us one week to give comments back,” Santosham said.

Liccardo told Route Fifty that the resulting document effectively mirrored legislation that industry officials have been promoting across the country. “They pulled the rug out,” Liccardo told Route Fifty.

When Route Fifty asked about the mayor’s comments, a spokesperson for AT&T responded with this statement: “The FCC’s BDAC works by consensus, all participants can contribute to the process and nothing gets adopted without broad support.”

While Liccardo resigned from the BDAC, he urged his fellow mayors to reach out to members of Congress to educate them on the local perspective on telecommunications issues. He warned them that there were, by his count, 16 bills before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would “essentially eviscerate local control in ways that I believe will undermine our collective efforts to expand broadband deployment to low income communities.”

Full Article: San José Mayor Quits FCC Broadband Group Due to ‘Predetermined, Industry-Favoring Outcome’

When the Telcos were unable to get state legislation passed to limit local control over the G5 installation, such as California SB-649, they are now trying to get Federal help to gut local control and limit opportunities for local graft.

BDAC’s Third Meeting Invites Public Comments

The Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee has released the first vote and discussion items and is seeking public comment on various issues.

On Thursday, November 9th, the third Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee Meeting (BDAC) took place at the FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. The mission of BDAC is to provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on how to fast-track the deployment of high-speed internet access in all areas of the nation by reducing and removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment.

At the third meeting for the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, reports and presentations were given from the various subcommittees including Model Code for Municipalities, Model Code for States, Competitive Access to Broadband Infrastructure, Removing State and Local Regulatory Barriers, and Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group. There were further discussions of how BDAC can continue its discussion on how push forward the deployment of broadband using the mission of the committee and its internet infrastructure goals.

Members of the public are welcome to submit comments to the BDAC within the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System at www.fcc.gov/ecfs. Comments to the BDAC should be filed in GN Docket No. 17-83.

Links to documents being considered can be found here.

The link includes materials such as the Working Group Recommendations for Vote and Discussion Documents for each issue mentioned above. These documents will include a summary of the challenges and solutions, recommended solutions to address these problems, as well as further details on these specific groups of challenge suggestions including leadership and details on past meetings.

H/T Utah Broadband Outreach Center