FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly
Chairman Pai: "The report maintains the same benchmark speed for fixed broadband service previously adopted by the Commission, which we earlier proposed to retain: 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload. The report also concludes that mobile broadband service is not a full substitute for fixed service. Instead, it notes there are differences between the two technologies, including clear variations in consumer preferences and demands.
Several of Wyoming’s local fiber and cable-based broadband providers recently brought to my attention legitimate concerns that their high-speed broadband networks are likely to be overbuilt by competitors receiving CARES Act grants being distributed through the Wyoming Business Council’s (WBC) Connect Wyoming program.
The giant elephant in this virtual room: the completely indefensible proposal to create a government-sponsored wholesale wireless network. For the last few years this “idea” has been floated, rejected, floated, rejected, and just recently floated again. Now, it seems to be under consideration once again by some at the highest levels of our government.
Deregulation of broadcast television station owners has also helped highlight just how backward and outdated certain aspects of our media regulation regime really are, and therefore, how much work remains to be done. To facilitate this process, I would humbly submit a few more ideas that the Federal Communications Commission could quickly implement to improve the plight of America’s struggling broadcasters and support local journalism:
The First Amendment protects us from limits on speech imposed by the government—not private actors—and we should all reject demands, in the name of the First Amendment, for private actors to curate or publish speech in a certain way. I shudder to think of a day in which the Fairness Doctrine could be reincarnated by some other name, especially at the ironic behest of so-called speech “defenders.” Further, like it or not, the First Amendment’s protections apply to corporate entities, especially when they engage in editorial decision making.
In striving to bring broadband access to all unserved Americans within existing funding constraints, the FCC must stretch scarce Universal Service Fund (USF) dollars as far as possible.
The explosive growth in wireless communications over the last many years has resulted in increasing interplay involving building codes, construction techniques and materials, and wireless communications coverage. In light of this, I believe that there is an opportunity for the Department of Energy and the Federal Comrntinications Commission to collaborate more extensively in order to produce thoughtful building codes that will not only allow the Department to fulfill its mission, but also expand wireless spectrum opportunities, and thus facilitate more consumer uses.
I believe that we can thoughtfully update Federal Communications Commission rules to make it easier and more affordable to bring devices to consumers while reducing investment risk without undermining any consumer protections.
While I am pleased that we continue to rely on a realistic and text-based reading of section 706, I wish we would have extended that pragmatism to our evaluation framework. It’s obvious that mobile and fixed broadband are increasingly converging into a single market, and I am dismayed that for yet another year, we have opted to rehash our tired, siloed approach rather than pursue a technology-neutral analysis.
I write to express my sincere appreciation for the extraordinary leadership you have shown on all communications policy matters, especially regarding 5G advanced wireless services, and to seek your direct assistance on an issue of great importance to our nation. I believe that only you personally, with your unique ability to cut through the bureaucratic stonewalling, can free the necessary
spectrum bands to provide our wireless providers the means to succeed.