Senators Urged To Invest In Variety Of Broadband Technologies

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During a hearing titled "Building Resilient Networks," lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband were asked to boost the reliability of the nation's broadband networks by spreading infrastructure funding among a variety of technologies such as fixed wireless and mobile broadband rather than limiting it solely to fiber. Wireless Infrastructure Association President Jonathan Adelstein testified that a singular focus on fiber broadband networks that can deliver "symmetrical" speeds of 100 megabits per second would prioritize a sometimes cumbersome broadband delivery method that can take longer to restore in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Instead, Adelstein suggested Congress should prioritize funding different types of networks with an eye toward the functionality and the potential service overlaps each network can offer. Denny Law, CEO of Golden West Telecommunications, said that federal investments in fiber networks will indeed go the furthest. While wireless networks may be easier to set up, they can be interrupted by many external factors and cost more to maintain over the long run, he said.

Public Knowledge Senior Vice President Harold Feld testified that the current transition of our national wireline networks to all-IP systems, and our deployment of 5G wireless networks, provides an ideal opportunity for Congress to act. As we upgrade to an all-IP framework, retire legacy copper networks, and build out 5G, we can upgrade our resiliency standards to take advantage of the new technical capacities of these networks. He recommended that Congress consider legislation that would:

  1. Provide the information necessary for proper planning and for the market to reward investment.
  2. Provide clear authority to the Federal Communications Commission and the States.
  3. Create metrics necessary to set standards and promote accountability.
  4. Promote sustainability and avoid environmental degradation.
  5. Make federal and state assets available in disaster recovery.
  6. Fund network upgrades that promote reliability.
  7. Direct the FCC to study the specialized needs of specific communities.


Sens. Urged To Invest In Variety Of Broadband Technologies Building Resilient Networks (Senate Commerce Committee)