Localism

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.

Sponsor: 

Senate Commerce Committee

Date: 
Fri, 10/12/2018 - 15:00

This hearing will focus on identifying existing barriers to broadband deployment, ways to streamline infrastructure siting, and encourage investment in next generation communications services.  ​

Witnesses:



The local, national and global fight over 5G infrastructure

The whole multitrillion dollar promise of 5G — millions of jobs and new businesses — is just a pipe dream without infrastructure. Unlike 4G, which can be delivered through a relatively small number of tall towers, 5G wireless service relies on lots and lots of small receivers placed fairly close together. And installing all those little 5G cells is turning into a big fight. Pete Holmes is Seattle's city attorney.

5G service rolls out — but not without controversy

Lampposts around downtown Los Angeles are being wired with fiber optic cable and shoebox-sized gadgets to beam the fifth and fastest generation of cellular data, known as 5G, into homes and mobile devices. This high-tech infrastructure build-out is the result of a deal between the city and Verizon — Los Angeles gave the wireless carrier a break on the fees for taking up space on streetlights in exchange for a package of amenities and services.

The FCC is tasked with solving the digital divide and it's making things worse

In an era that’s buzzing with talk of autonomous vehicles and virtual wallets, mere access to broadband internet remains out of reach for many. And while Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai frequently reminds the public that his top priority is closing the digital divide, his actions have made it harder, again and again, for Americans to get internet access. He has been leading the charge to gut Lifeline, the federal program that subsidizes phone and broadband connections for low-income people in the United States.

Georgia Tackles Broadband Expansion And Local Control

Rural Georgia needs better internet access quickly, but state lawmakers said internet companies won’t expand to rural areas if there’s too much red tape. Lobbyists said their companies are spending too much time negotiating with each city and county for access to roads to install broadband equipment. So state lawmakers and local elected officials will meet for the first time to talk about who has the right of way. Dublin Mayor Phil Best said the residential areas of town are where broadband service spotty.

Cities will sue FCC to stop 5G Deployment order

A number of cities plan to sue the Federal Communications Commission over its decision to preempt local rules on deployment of 5G wireless equipment. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes said their city intends to appeal the FCC order in federal court. Seattle will be coordinating with other cities on a lawsuit, they said. The FCC says its order will save carriers $2 billion, less than one percent of the estimated $275 billion it will take to deploy 5G across the country.

Cities Beat Back Senate 5G Play

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) plugged his STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, S. 3157, which would override local rules and limit fees for installing 5G infrastructure. But despite Chairman Thune talking it up, local officials seem to have succeeded at beating back the legislation through steady opposition — although they failed to stop the Federal Communications Commission's vote approving a similar regulatory measure. Opponents of the bill may have run out the clock. No hearing is scheduled, and there's scant time before this current session of Congress ends.

Congress Offers Suggestions on 5G

Twenty-five members of Congress sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on September 25, 2018, offering suggestions on promoting local deployment of advanced communications services, protecting local authority, and 5G.

FCC Streamlines Deployment of Next Generation Wireless Infrastructure

The Federal Communications Commission reduced the role of local communities in the deployment of infrastructure necessary for 5G and other advanced wireless services. This action, which builds upon those already taken by states and localities to streamline deployment, underscores the FCC’s commitment to ensuring that the United States wins the global race to 5G. The first part of the decision, a Declaratory Ruling, focuses primarily on local fees for the authorizations necessary to deploy small wireless facilities. Specifically, the Declaratory Ruling:

Rep McNerney (D-CA) Leads Letter Urging FCC to Delay 5G Infrastructure Vote

Rep Jerry McNerney (D-CA), along with eight Democratic Representatives on the House Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, requesting the proposed Streamlining Deployment of Next Generation Wireless Infrastructure Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order be removed from Sept 26’s FCC Open Meeting agenda. "[I]n order to achieve the best outcome for consumers, it is crucial that 5G be deployed in a way that carefully balances the interests of both communities and the wireless carriers.