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CCA Advocacy Agenda

The Dawn of 5G:

Paving the Road to Innovation by Accessing Unique Spectrum Resources, Streamlining Siting Policies, Securing Universal Service Funding, and Adopting Policies to Foster Certainty in an Evolving Market

Success of CCA’s 2018 Advocacy

In 2018, Competitive Carriers Association (“CCA”) successfully navigated political and policy changes to advance competitive carriers’ priorities.  As the leading voice for competitive carriers in policy discussions, CCA’s representation significantly improves regulatory decisions and policy directives for members from the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”), Congress, the Administration, and other federal agencies.

Among other successes, CCA built upon prior advocacy efforts to preserve Universal Service support where necessary and encouraged Congress and the FCC to use accurate, standardized, and reliable data when making funding decisions.  Specifically, CCA secured changes to the Universal Service Fund Mobility Fund II (“MF II”) proceeding by working alongside Congress and the Commission to base federal funding on accurate and reliable coverage maps.  CCA also testified before Congress multiple times, highlighting the need to preserve and expand mobile broadband services in rural America.  These efforts ensured that existing funding for CCA members was not terminated based on erroneous data, and that future funding will properly support the deployment of broadband to all Americans.

Additionally, CCA continued its work to improve equitable access to spectrum resources.  CCA championed efforts to ensure all carriers can access the millimeter wave (“mmW”) spectrum necessary to deploy next-generation technologies and services, including advocacy that persuaded the FCC to adopt equitable procedures for Auction 101 (28 GHz) and Auction 102 (24 GHz).  In addition, CCA joined industry advocates to encourage the Commission to promptly move 3.5 GHz spectrum into the marketplace in a manner that promotes investment and innovation for a variety of stakeholders.  CCA likewise promoted the efficient and effective allocation of soon-to-be-available mid-band spectrum between 3.7 GHz and 24 GHz for the benefit of all services and users, while maximizing flexibility and innovation for next-generation wireless broadband services.  In particular, CCA identified potential avenues for making the 3.7-4.2 GHz band available for terrestrial use, while protecting incumbent users currently providing critical services and protecting unique areas like Alaska.  Further, CCA supported Congressional efforts leading to the enactment of RAY BAUM’s Act, including the MOBILE NOW Act.

CCA also was instrumental in securing relief from infrastructure siting barriers at the state and local level, and streamlining environmental and historic preservation review processes.  CCA secured sweeping reform of infrastructure deployment policies that will help members deploy next-generation services.  In particular, CCA consistently advocated at the Commission and Congress to create clear national standards for application review timelines, reasonable fees throughout the siting process, and common-sense exclusions from environmental and historical review, including Tribal review, where appropriate.  CCA also served the remainder of its term on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (“BDAC”) Removing State and Local Barriers Working Group to develop a consensus report with industry, states, and localities that would reduce the burdens on carriers and government alike and help spur broadband deployment.  Last year, the full BDAC voted on and approved the Removing State and Local Barriers Working Group’s recommendations, marking another step toward industry consensus to streamline infrastructure siting policies.

CCA additionally continued its efforts to ensure that policies are properly balanced to promote public safety and network resiliency.  CCA advocated for thoughtful solutions that allow consumers to access information during disasters and emergencies, including through programs like the Wireless Emergency Alerts system.  CCA also highlighted members’ efforts to harden and recover networks in the wake of natural disasters and security breaches.  Finally, CCA remained a Co-Chair of the FCC’s North American Numbering Council’s Nationwide Number Portability Issues Working Group, which continues to draft recommendations for the Commission on ways to achieve nationwide number porting.

As the industry verges on 5G network deployments, there is more work to do.  Looking ahead, CCA will continue to promote a fair playing field for competitive carriers, and oppose anticompetitive policies and practices that stifle innovation and limit competitive providers’ ability to bridge the digital divide as well as participate in the next era of technology deployment.  For the United States to lead the world in 5G, consumers in both rural and urban areas must have access to reasonably comparable services, which will require access to critical inputs and a competitive legal and business landscape.  CCA will ensure that Congress, the FCC, and the Administration continue to share common goals of closing the digital divide and expanding broadband as key drivers of economic growth, innovation, and opportunity.

Specifically, the Commission and Congress remain focused on unleashing valuable spectrum resources for 5G and next-generation technologies, especially in the mid- and high-band spectrum ranges, and CCA will continue to make sure that their efforts provide equitable access to spectrum.  Federal funding through programs like MF II, as well as streamlined infrastructure siting policies, also will top the list of CCA’s and the Administration’s 2019 priorities.  At the same time, recent natural disasters, such as Hurricane Michael, and the wildfires and mudslides in California, continue to spark interest in providers’ ability to harden and recover networks in the wake of catastrophic events and public safety protocols.  Globally, the Administration maintains an emphasis on safeguarding the integrity and reliability of communications networks from vulnerabilities and cyber-attacks, and each new privacy headline prompts new calls to action.  In each area, CCA will be vigilant in advocating for policies that promote our members’ ability to compete and thrive, and will continue to participate on relevant industry working groups including partnering with federal agencies as appropriate.

Together, these issues frame an early narrative for DC policymakers and CCA’s 2019 priorities.  CCA looks forward to ongoing collaboration with its members, the Administration, the FCC, and Congress, to welcome the dawn of 5G and inspire policies for a robust mobile ecosystem as industry verges on a new era of technology.

Specifically, CCA will prioritize the following in 2019:

– Spectrum
– Infrastructure
– Universal Service Fund
– Public Safety & Next-Generation 911
– Networks
– Devices

To see CCA’s full issue Advocacy Agenda and more details on the specific issues, click here.

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