NTIA Looks to Make Federal Land, Towers, Available for Rural Broadband


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“The Administration understands” making deployment of wireless infrastructure easier “needs to be addressed,” David Redl, Administrator of National Telecommunications and Information Administration, told attendees of the Competitive Carriers Association’s 2018 Annual Convention yesterday. NTIA regulates federal spectrum. It has heard about this issue from “equipment vendors to carriers, everyone in the wireless ecosystem. The federal government is willing to help,” Redl said.

NTIA is working with states and localities to remove barriers to siting and develop a better broadband map. “Congress asked us to work to bring better information” about where broadband exists and where it does not, especially in rural America, he said. “CCA members have worked with us, to show us there is a lot going on out there that [current] maps don’t reflect.” Redl said NTIA looks forward to putting out a Request for Proposals in a couple of months for companies to help NTIA with mapping data.

NTIA makes sure federal agencies have the spectrum they need, and also looks for spectrum that could be used by others. It’s looking at the 3450 to 3550 MHz band to see if some of that can be re-allocated.  

Redl described the President’s Broadband inter-agency working group, which is looking at ways to free up more spectrum for rural America. Concerning the small cells order to streamline siting the FCC voted on last week, Redl said, “That will help you.” But not with siting infrastructure on federally-owned land, which he described as a “painful process.”   

“We’re trying to find ways to take land and towers on federal land, to make them available to those who want to bring broadband to rural America, not only streamlined permitting, but also assets you can use to build-out,” he said.

October 3, 2018