Friday, April 21, 2017

Siting Hurdles Knocked Down in Unanimous FCC Vote

Wireless providers large and small have been asking the FCC and Congress for help to clear away regulatory barriers to broadband deployment; they especially have sought help with what they say are uneven prices charged by municipalities for pole attachments and lengthy, costly delays to siting wireless infrastructure, Inside Towers reported.
 
The FCC yesterday voted 3-0 to open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to accomplish these goals; it invites public comment on regulations for pole attachments such as how to ensure pole attachers are not charged multiple times for certain capital costs and establishing a shot clock for FCC consideration of complaints.

The retirement of legacy copper is discussed too, and the agency seeks comment on how to streamline that as providers transition to IP networks. Continue Reading

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Auction Came Up Short Due to ‘Sharpened’ Demand by Carriers

Inside Towers Interview with Vertical Bridge CEO Alex Gellman
Why did the nearly $20 billion in gross revenues from the FCC’s incentive auction come in at around half of what had been originally predicted by a myriad of analysts? Timing and the evolution of the carrier’s needs, according to one expert.
FCC officials told reporters last week the auction had been in the works for five years under four different Commission chairmen, beginning with Julius Genachowski. Continue Reading

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Clyburn: Big Broadband Gets a ‘Hall Pass’ in Tomorrow’s Vote

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is decrying at least one change the FCC is slated to vote on tomorrow regarding tower siting and rights-of-way.
 
“The majority will take actions that benefit the largest providers to the detriment of smaller companies, and to the detriment of consumers” she told attendees at a regional broadband summit hosted by Next Century Cities in Mesa, AZ yesterday. “States and localities are okay to regulate but [large] broadband providers, I believe, are getting a hall pass.” Continue Reading

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

LPTV Coalition Urges Members to ‘Resist The Repack’

The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition is gearing up for a court fight to delay the repack. The group is comprised of Low-Power TV station and TV translator owners.
 
“The auction winning bidders need to hear loud and clear that LPTV will not be moving when they want to start testing in a Partial Economic Area, but when we are ready,” says Coalition Director Mike Gravino.



“We will be offering engineering services to counter any of the claims of testing in a PEA, and those companies had better have engineering proof they need us to shut down. If tower crews and equipment are not available, then too bad, we all will have to wait,” he says in a newsletter for members. Continue Reading

Monday, April 17, 2017

Repack Clock is Ticking and An Expensive Move For Broadcasters Awaits

Now that the 39-month TV station repack timeline has begun, what kinds of equipment will be eligible for reimbursement? The deadline for stations to submit their estimated repack expenses to the FCC is July 12. Those include engineering, legal, equipment, installation, and other costs the FCC deems reasonable to accomplish a required channel change. The FCC has shed a little more light on equipment approximations in its Catalog of Potential Expenses and Estimated Costs. The agency asked Widelity to reflect the current pricing for the equipment and services that repacked broadcasters may need to purchase to facilitate the moves to their new channel assignments, and the current pricing for equipment and services that MVPDs may need to purchase to continue to carry broadcasters. The report was produced August 2016. Continue Reading

Thursday, April 13, 2017

FCC Announces Auction Winners

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
The FCC has officially announced today at 1:30 p.m. the closing of the broadcast incentive auction, calling the $19.8 billion in gross revenue for 70 MHz of spectrum one of its “highest grossing auctions ever.”    

Among the largest winners are T-Mobile, Dish, Comcast, and U.S. Cellular.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the conclusion “a milestone” and said consumers would benefit from “greater competition and innovation in the mobile broadband marketplace” and additional resources and programming from broadcasters.

In the forward auction, wireless carriers bid $19.8 billion on mobile broadband spectrum. A total of 50 winning bidders won 70 MHz of licensed spectrum. A total of 14 MHz of spectrum is available for unlicensed use and wireless microphones. Continue Reading

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trump, Executives Discuss Infrastructure, Tax Reform

President Donald Trump met with about 20 CEOs, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, on Tuesday in a strategic and policy forum. The executives spoke with five cabinet secretaries about issues like infrastructure, tax reform and job creation. The meeting occurs as Congress is on a two-week break. The White House confirmed the meetings but did not immediately disclose all the participants.

“We’re going to reduce taxes, we’re going to eliminate wasteful regulations … we’re doing a major streamlining” of the income tax system, President Trump told reporters afterwards, according to Fox News. Continue Reading