Thursday, April 5, 2018

Should Carriers be Mandated to Deploy Rural Broadband?

How can carriers make the business case for rural broadband deployment? Will it take a government mandate to make that happen? That’s what one panelist suggested Wednesday at Wireless Connect 2018. The event is organized by the Wireless Infrastructure Association in partnership with the Master’s in Telecommunications Program at the University of Maryland.

Inside Towers posed the question to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who appeared with WIA President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein in a Q & A.

Carr said one way to incentivize carriers is through the FCC’s Universal Service Program, which provides subsidies to those who deploy communications in rural areas. “Infrastructure reform is a key piece of it,” he said, referring to the Commission’s recent decision to allow small cells to bypass environmental and Tribal review in select cases. Carriers spent $30 million combined in such reviews last year when siting infrastructure, according to the agency. “What if we can take 30 percent of deployment costs and cut it. It flips the business case,” he said, noting that the change will mean broadband can be deployed to “thousands more communities.”  Continue Reading

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