Remarks of Commissioner Starks at 9th Annual Americas Spectrum Management Conference

The past few months have underscored a basic truth: full participation in civil society requires an internet connection. Wireless technologies, including emerging 5G technologies, have an important role to play here. That’s why we must do more to make high-quality, affordable broadband, including 5G wireless service, available to everyone. In planning and promoting the deployment of advanced wireless networks, we have an opportunity to promote digital inclusion and combat longstanding inequalities.

Neither the Federal Communications Commission nor Congress has detailed exactly how untrustworthy equipment will be removed and replaced. And Congress has not provided the funding that process requires. Small wireless carriers bought this equipment legally and in good faith. They have now recognized the dangers, and they need our help to address them. Funding delays are creating serious issues for some of these carriers, which face potentially significant expenses with no relief in sight. I am committed to working with Congress to ensure that sufficient funds are appropriated soon and that a remedy can be provided quickly and responsibly. With the needed funding, I’m optimistic that we can make the needed replacements and end up with stronger, more secure networks—and I see Open RAN technology as a part of that solution.

Comm. Starks at 9th Annual Americas Spectrum Management Conference