CCA Advocacy Agenda
CCA 2017 Advocacy Agenda
Protecting, Preserving & Progressing Mobile Network Foundations:
Streamlined Infrastructure Deployment, Universal Service Fund Reform, and Next-Generation Spectrum Allocation
A community’s degree of broadband connectivity often predicts its residents’ quality of life and economic potential. CCA’s 2017 policy agenda will continue to focus on targeted competitive issues to ensure that all parts of the country have access to competitive mobile broadband as mobile carriers are paramount to the well-being of their customers and the marketplace’s vitality, especially as members deploy next-generation networks. After a changed administration, impacting the FCC, the executive branch and Congress, competitive carriers now face a markedly different regulatory environment presenting new opportunities and challenges.
In 2016, CCA successfully represented members in both legislative actions and federal rule-makings, significantly lessening the extent to which members would face compliance burdens from many overarching regulatory regimes. For example, the Incentive Auction closed in April, yielding nearly $20 billion in gross revenue and awarding 50 winning auction bidders with 2776 licenses for “beachfront” 600 MHz spectrum. CCA’s involvement throughout the auction helped all carriers participate in the auction with smaller geographic license sizes and a spectrum reserve that produced robust competitive carrier participation. CCA also helped extinguish broadcasters’ attempts to delay bidding and extend repack timelines, to date. The post-incentive auction repack is still expected to occur within the FCC adopted, statutorily-based 39-month timeframe. CCA also worked with the Commission to materialize a Mobility Fund II item to help carriers deploy next-generation infrastructure, and alongside Congress to prevent a flash-cut of support. Additionally, CCA secured certainty in several consumer-focused proceedings, including new Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and Real-Time Text (RTT) regulatory regimes.
Looking toward 2017, new leadership has embraced wireless carriers as harbingers of economic growth and innovation opportunity. Chairman Pai continues to emphasize the benefits of technological development to consumers on the wrong side of the digital divide, and in cities eager to grow “smarter” and more productive, and as a means for the United States to lead the world in toward 5G deployment. Under Chairman Pai, the Commission has renewed its focus to pare back unnecessary rules and regulations based on data-driven, economic-based policy decisions with a more free-market approach. The Commission also has stressed the need to alleviate compliance burdens which may be inappropriate for small providers. Chairman Pai’s detailed Digital Empowerment Agenda (DEA) and Congressional appetite for a comprehensive national infrastructure package have placed a renewed focused on broadband infrastructure deployment. The Commission appears poised to streamline and expedite infrastructure deployment. Congress, in parallel, is newly motivated to expand broadband deployment in any infrastructure bill.
CCA has seen early victories under this new regime. Most recently, CCA ensured there would not be a disruptive flash cut of legacy USF support for wireless carriers and secured a challenge process as part of the Mobility Fund II auction process, which will be used to improve the inconsistent and often inaccurate data on which the FCC makes policy decisions. CCA has robustly participated in the Commission’s efforts to significantly streamline infrastructure deployment, as well as initiatives across other federal agencies to address siting on federal lands. Congress has offered various legislation which would assist competitive wireless carriers as they seek to deploy and maintain networks, maximize USF support, and acquire greater access to spectrum at CCA’s bequest, in part.
CCA looks forward to ongoing collaboration with the FCC, Congress, other policymakers, and its membership to support a competitive mobile ecosystem as industry moves toward next-generation networks and 5G technologies.
Specifically, CCA will prioritize the following issues in 2017:
- Universal Service Fund/Mobility Fund II
- Competition and Consolidation
- Next Generation 911
- FCC Process Reform
To see CCA’s full Issue Advocacy Agenda and more details on the specific issues click here.