In exchange for obtaining a valuable license to operate a broadcast station using the public airwaves, each radio and television licensee is required by law to operate its station in the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” This means that it must air programming that is responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of license. In addition, how other media facilitate community discussions.
Solutions to having good, ubiquitous broadband are very different for each community. Some communities do not have enough broadband providers; others have plenty of providers but pockets of areas that are underserved; still others have so many providers that they are concerned about running out of rights of way, particularly as fiber for 5G and small cells densities. This article discusses a process that can help address all these circumstances: broadband master planning.
Native American communities should have the same access to the opportunities of the digital age as other Americans. Yet, internet access in Indian Country remains stubbornly and persistently low. Addressing this problem requires smart policy and a scarce resource regulated by the Federal Communications Commission known as wireless spectrum. For the first time, tribal communities have an opportunity to obtain wireless spectrum to expand broadband access on their lands—but the challenges of COVID-19 threaten to diminish its potential. The FCC can and should fix that.
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr announced that the FCC, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) have reached an agreement that will support wireless infrastructure builds while continuing to protect historic properties. It does so by amending the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (Collocation NPA) that the FCC, ACHP, and NCSHPO entered into in 2001.
Wireless infrastructure deployment, particularly for small cell or distributed antenna systems, promise smart city innovation abilities. But this rollout is likely to be stymied until resolution of disputes between industry and municipalities. Local officials are upset that federal intervention – by Congress and by the Federal Communications Commission – is hampering their ability to govern their own rights-of-way.
Whether it be for business meetings, family video chats, virtual doctor appointments or distance learning, more Americans are relying on broadband and wireless networks to stay connected than ever before, as the nation deals with the COVID-19 crisis. As we look into the future, it is evident that investing in building these strong communication networks, in particular next-generation wireless networks or 5G, will be as crucial than ever to American success.
Legal battles between cities and states are expected to intensify in the coming months with dust-ups over municipal broadband networks and other issues. After some high-profile disputes with governors over pandemic-related restrictions, some mayors are emboldened in pushing back on state laws prohibiting city-level policies that, they say, will be important to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
State and local governments are working overtime to provide Internet service to all who need it during the pandemic, pushing out a range of ad hoc projects designed to keep members of their communities connected.
History at the crossroads, one of those inflection points when we have the opportunity to learn from our experiences and use them to build a better future. Coronavirus brings us to another of those crossroads. Which road will we take?
Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai demanding an extension on the comment period for the issues that the DC Circuit Court of Appeals recently remanded in the commission’s net neutrality repeal. Local governments in California and New York requested a 60-day extension of the comment period, yet the commission refused to give these first responders more time while they are fighting on the frontlines of a global pandemic. “While that comment period clo
74 senators cosigned a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought to support radio and televisions broadcasters and local newspapers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our radio and television broadcasters and rural newspapers provide local and national news, emergency alerts, educational programs, and more to all corners of the United States.