CCA Advocacy Agenda
Breaking Down Barriers and Striving for More Certainty on the Road to 5G Through Streamlined Infrastructure Siting Policies, Universal Service Funding, and Access to Spectrum Resources
In 2017, Competitive Carriers Association (“CCA”) successfully navigated political and policy changes to advance the cause of competitive carriers to adapt and evolve under the policies of a new administration. CCA is the leading voice for competitive carriers in policy discussions at the White House, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”), and Congress, achieving significant victories under the new administration. CCA successfully represented members before Congress and in federal rulemakings, significantly lessening the negative impact of regulatory burdens and potentially anticompetitive policy directives. In addition, CCA fought to preserve universal service where necessary and encouraged Congress and the FCC to use accurate, standardized, and reliable data when making funding decisions. CCA testified in front of Congress multiple times, highlighting the need for expeditious access to mobile broadband services in rural America.
CCA continued to work toward equitable access to spectrum resources. CCA led efforts to ensure all carriers can access the millimeter wave (“mmW”) spectrum necessary to deploy next-generation technologies and services. In addition, CCA began exploring ways to best allocate soon-to-be-available mid-band spectrum between 3.7 GHz and 24 GHz with the most efficient and effective use of this spectrum for the benefit of all services and users, while maximizing innovation for next-generation wireless broadband services. In particular, CCA championed efforts to explore potential avenues for making the 3.7-4.2 GHz band available for mobile use, while protecting incumbent users currently providing critical services to unserved, underserved, and rural areas.
Additionally, CCA was appointed by FCC Chairman Pai to serve 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 to reduce the burdens on carriers and government alike and help spur broadband deployment. Earlier this 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.
Finally, CCA secured certainty in the Wireless Emergency Alerts (“WEA”) proceeding by working alongside the Commission to garner a unanimously supported Order granting CCA’s Petition for an eighteen-month extension of the compliance deadline for certain requirements adopted in the 2016 WEA Report & Order, for members other than the five largest carriers, and to affirm the schedule for all carriers to geotarget alerts to make them most useful to consumers and public safety officials.
Despite last year’s achievements and our early successes this year, there is more work to do. Looking ahead, CCA will continue to navigate political and policy challenges and changes, targeting competitive issues that present barriers to a healthy mobile ecosystem. It is imperative that all consumers have access to ubiquitous mobile broadband services, especially as members deploy next-generation or 5G networks. Congress, the FCC, and the Trump Administration continue to share common goals of closing the digital divide and expanding broadband, and in particular mobile broadband, as a key driver of economic growth, innovation, and opportunity.
For the United States to lead the world in 5G deployments, rural America cannot be left behind. Specifically, Chairman Pai’s Digital Empowerment Agenda (“DEA”) and Congressional and Administration priorities for a comprehensive national infrastructure package, including broadband in rural areas, will top the list of CCA’s 2018 priorities. The Commission and Congress also remain focused on unleashing valuable spectrum resources for 5G and next-generation technologies, most especially in the mid- and high-band spectrum ranges. At the same time, recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the wildfires and mudslides in California, have sparked renewed emphasis on safeguarding the integrity and reliability of communications networks during catastrophic events as well as alerting the public when they are in harm’s way. The need to ensure that consumers receive accurate public safety notices has turned national attention to the Commission’s public safety protocols and priorities.
Together, these issues frame an early narrative for DC policymakers and CCA’s 2018 priorities. CCA looks forward to ongoing collaboration with the Administration, FCC, Congress, and its membership to break down barriers that impede carriers from competing in today’s mobile ecosystem as industry navigates regulatory and legislative uncertainty to deploy next-generation networks and 5G technologies and services.
Specifically, CCA will prioritize the following in 2018:
– Universal Service Fund
– Public Safety and Next-Generation 911
To see CCA’s full issue Advocacy Agenda and more details on the specific issues, click here.