FCC Chairman Announces Broadband Acceleration Initiative Actions

Say what you will about the inefficiencies of government, but FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has evidently been busy of late. While things like "Internet expansion" generally get shoved aside in place of things like "debt ceilings," Genachowski has been doing a fine job of keeping some of our interests in the limelight. We're obviously in favor of spreading as much broadband love as possible across every area of the globe, and it seems that the FCC's head man is as well. This week, he announced new actions as part of the Broadband Acceleration Initiative, which is described as "a comprehensive effort to remove barriers to broadband build-out, including streamlining the deployment of mobile broadband infrastructure, such as towers, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cells."

The Commission defined and clarified a technical provision in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 regarding local review of requests to modify an existing wireless tower or base station. This provision will accelerate deployment and delivery of high-speed mobile broadband to communities across the nation. This action will create greater certainty and predictability for providers that today invest more than $25 billion per year in mobile infrastructure, one of the largest U.S. sectors for private investment. The Commission today also launched a proceeding to expedite placement of temporary cell towers – cells on wheels (COWs) and cells on light trucks (COLTs) – that are used to expand capacity during special events, such as the Inauguration or the Super Bowl.

Chairman Genachowski also announced actions in the coming months to further streamline DAS and small cell deployment; examine whether current application of the tower siting shot clock offers sufficient clarity to industry and municipalities; and begin developing model facility siting rules for localities. Each of these actions would contribute to faster, more efficient deployment of wireless infrastructure, at least according to Genachowski. There's obviously some political aspects at play here, but if more broadband hits more people in the near(er) future -- hey, that's something we can get behind.