Thursday, May 4, 2017

Senate Tries to Balance Local Control Over Speedy Deployment

Some localities are worried they would get less say in how broadband is deployed in their areas based on legislation that Congress is preparing and rules the FCC has proposed to streamline such deployment nationwide.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said during a hearing on reducing barriers to broadband infrastructure deployment on Wednesday regulators are working to reduce digital disparity between rural and urban areas, and with good reason. “In places like South Dakota, you are lucky if you have a six-month window to lay fiber,” noting companies need to begin the permitting process one to two years ahead of time.

Yet regulators must be cognizant of the roles localities play in the infrastructure permitting process. Wilton Manors, FL Mayor Gary Resnick told lawmakers when localities deny installs in public rights-of-way it’s for a good reason. “We pay a price in Florida to live in paradise. Because of hurricanes, it makes sense to construct utilities underground,” so residents can drive away quickly after a storm. “The only safe way to pull off a road and not get submerged is to not have anything in the way.” Continue Reading

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