Will The Swamp Flood Out Broadband For Rural America?

The Daily Caller | 11/23/2017 | Staff
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Approximately 23 million Americans mostly living in rural areas do not have access to fixed, broadband internet service in their homes. Government has provided millions in recent years to the large internet service providers and the big mobile carriers precisely to address this gap and ensure universal broadband service to everyone in America.

But that taxpayer money has been wasted in the big corporate swamps, which have failed to get the job done. Rather, those big corporate interests are now pursuing the opposite, through regulatory favoritism that will disfavor the smaller broadband providers who are investing their own money to close the broadband gap.

Federal - Communications - Commission - FCC - Notice

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would favor improved 5G internet service for concentrated urban areas over new 1G service for the rural hinterlands that lack any service now. The proposed rule would change the current regulatory regime the FCC adopted in 2015, which was considered open to broadband investment by every possible provider, small and large.

Those 2015 regulations were adopted unanimously by the FCC, with the votes of all five members. Those rules covered internet service provided through the 3550-3650 MHz spectrum first, expanded to the 3550-3650 MHz spectrum in 2020.

Regulations - Priority - Access - Licenses - PALs

The 2015 regulations provided for Priority Access Licenses (PALs) covering 10 megahertz of spectrum that enabled internet service to specific census tracts. Those PALs were auctioned for three-year license terms for 74,000 census tracts, renewable for a second three-year period.

The manageable investment needed to provide internet service for a census tract meant that the market for expanded broadband was open to a wide range of potential competitors, including small rural ISPs, small mobile phone service providers, universities, sports arenas, industrial companies, building managers, and other possible competitors. Moreover, the three-year lease...
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