Pai Announces Plans for Advisory Committee on Broadband Deployment

January 31, 2017– FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced that he is establishing a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) to develop recommendations for actions the FCC can take to encourage broadband deployment across the U.S.   The BDAC’s first task will be to develop a model code for broadband deployment covering local franchising, zoning, permitting, and rights-of-way issues, Chairman Pai said during remarks at today’s FCC meeting, his first as Chairman.vHe said that FCC staffers Brian Hurley and Paul D’Ari would be the BDAC’s designated federal officer and deputy designated federal officer, respectively — positions that entail liaison and support work, as well as helping committee members understand the scope of the work referred to them by the FCC under the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Nominations for members of the BDAC should be submitted to the FCC by Feb. 15, the agency said in a public notice today.  In general, it asked for applications from representatives of “communications industry, representatives of state and local regulators, and representatives of consumers and community organizations that wish to be considered for membership on the BDAC.”

It added that the agency is particularly interested in nominations and expressions of interest from rural and urban Internet service providers using any technology to provide service; independent network builders and networking equipment installers; other entities involved in deploying broadband services; industry trade associations; federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies; consumer and community organizations; and qualified representatives of other stakeholders and interested parties with relevant experience.

Chairman Pai said he expects the BDAC will have about 15 members. Applications should be submitted to BDAC@fcc.gov, and if an applicant seeks to represent an organization or company, the application should include a statement from an organization or company official stating that the entity wishes the individual in question to represent it.

The FCC said that it expects the two-year charter for the BDAC to begin in the spring. In a press release, the FCC said that the BDAC could explore reforms in areas such as the FCC’s pole attachment rules, “unreasonable regulatory barriers to broadband deployment,” and ways to encourage local “deployment-friendly” policies.The public notice added that the BDAC could also recommend “further reform within the scope of the Commission’s authority (to include, but not limited to, sections 253 and 332(c)(7) of the Communications Act and section 6409 of the Spectrum Act),” which deal with siting of wireless facilities.

Several industry groups welcomed the announcement. CTIA President and Chief Executive Officer Meredith Attwell Baker said, “CTIA and the wireless industry applaud Chairman Pai’s leadership in forming the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee to reduce regulatory impediments and accelerate broadband deployment. Accenture reports that the wireless industry looks to invest $275 billion in communities across the country over the next decade to build out next-generation 5G wireless infrastructure, which will support 3 million new jobs and contribute $500 billion to the American economy. As we plan for this investment, the wireless industry welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively with communities, consumers and government at every level on effective ways to streamline and accelerate wireless infrastructure deployment.”

USTelecom President and CEO Jonathan Spalter said, “Chairman Pai’s focus on practical, nuts and bolts issues that will spur broadband investment and reduce the digital divide makes great sense. His Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee should help cut through the red tape that slows the rollout of gigabit networks and makes it harder to reach rural Americans. For all our nation’s broadband customers, this committee is the right idea at the right time, and USTelecom’s member companies will look forward to supporting its important work.”

Incompas CEO Chip Pickering said, “We welcome and commend Chairman Pai on his announcement of a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee to help guide his Digital Empowerment Agenda. We must make broadband deployment a national priority, as new networks create jobs, boost education and unleash the future.

“New competitive network builders have shown the path to success. In communities with more choices and access, broadband speeds increase, prices drop and new businesses thrive. We look forward to working with Chairman Pai and the entire FCC on a plan for success,” Mr. Pickering added. —Lynn Stanton, lynn.stanton@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily