FCC Technical Advisory Council Recommends New Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Policies

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The FCC’s Technical Advisory Council (“TAC”) recently released eight new policy proposals intended to expedite broadband infrastructure deployment and a migration to IP networks. A copy of the recommendations is available here. Several proposals, if adopted, would have a direct (and potentially meaningful) impact on providers deploying next generation broadband network equipment, primarily by reducing federal and municipal delays in broadband network infrastructure deployment. However, the TAC also suggests opening dialogues on standardized metrics for measuring broadband performance other than speed, creating protected spectrum on which to offload wireless broadband data; and on the need to replace embedded legacy equipment that is not designed for IP.

The recommendations are the TAC’s top ideas for embracing “near term” opportunities for promoting private sector innovation and job creation without working through traditional regulatory processes. Thus, these proposals are notable as those which the TAC believes that the FCC can quickly adopt and implement without first undertaking the often long and rigorous rulemaking process.

1. Incent municipalities to expedite permitting and approval – FCC should publicize municipal best practices for broadband infrastructure and deployment, with a “race to the top” contest and public rankings of cities with the most broadband-friendly infrastructure approval processes.

2. Executive order to streamline broadband deployment on federal property – President should issue an Executive Order mandating a streamlined, single-agency, 60-day review and approval process for deployment of broadband infrastructure on federal property, in particular for Federal rights-of-way and antenna siting approvals.

3. Advocate rapid tower siting processes – FCC should signal states and municipalities to permit co-location “by right” and employ a shortened “shot clock” for co-locations on existing structure — or the FCC will do so.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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