Speeding up broadband deployment in order to close the digital divide is a core goal of new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Inside Towers reported. Presiding over his first open meeting of the FCC in his new role, Pai announced the formation of a federal broadband deployment advisory committee to do that.
The group will identify barriers to infrastructure deployment and make recommendations to remove them, he said. The group will work to revise pole attachment rules, identify ways to encourage municipalities to adopt “deployment-friendly” policies and other reforms. The board plans to hold its first meeting this spring and seeks nominations of individuals or organizations that would like to join. To submit a nominee use this link.
One of the things the committee will tackle first is drafting what Pai calls a “model code” covering zoning, permitting and rights-of-way. The idea is any city can use the model as a template to ease broadband deployment, and providers would have a “better case” for installing infrastructure.
“Building, upgrading, and deploying broadband networks isn’t easy, and red tape often can make the task harder than it needs to be,” said Pai. The advisory committee is part of Pai’s Digital Empowerment Agenda he proposed last September.
USTelecom President/CEO Jonathan Spalter welcomed the news, saying Pai’s focus on practical, nuts and bolts issues “makes great sense.” The committee “should help cut through the red tape that slows the rollout of gigabit networks and makes it harder to reach rural Americans.”
February 1, 2017