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San Francisco Asks Vendors for Citywide Broadband Proposals, Mandates Net Neutrality

(TNS) — San Francisco’s attempt to bring affordable, high-speed Internet service to every home and business in the city is set to take a major step forward Wednesday as city officials begin choosing private-sector partners to build the network at the lowest possible cost. After three years of deciding what a city-owned fiber-optic Internet network would look like, the Department of Technology on Wednesday will invite Internet providers, telecommunication experts, financial firms and other players to submit plans for constructing and operating the network. The network would be owned by the city but built and managed as a public-private partnership — an arrangement that allows the city to blun

Hopeful wireless providers must be in 'harmony' with the community

Wireless providers proposing small cell towers in Shreveport would have to show that the towers are in "harmony" with surrounding communities, according to city documents released this week. The Shreveport City Attorney's Office released a draft of a proposed ordinance last week, establishing "a uniform and comprehensive set of standards" for companies wanting to create Wireless Technology Facilities, or WTFs, within city limits. Providers, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless, have approached city leaders in recent months saying Shreveport needs to jump on the 5G Wireless bandwagon to speed up internet connections and become a "smart" and "progressive" city. Members of the public and of the

A cell tower next door? New bill would take away local control

MARTINSVILLE – Proposed state legislation might enable a cell phone tower to become your new next-door neighbor without you or your local officials having any say in the matter. Not only are Martinsville’s and Henry County’s chief planning officials concerned, but also a wireless communications industry trade association. House Bill 1258 and Senate Bill 405, now before those chambers’ commerce and labor committees, are worded much alike in highly-technical language. According to a General Assembly website, the bills aim to establish rules “regarding applications for zoning approvals for certain wireless support structures.” Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, is a patron of the House bill. He s

FCC Chairman Opposes Government-Backed 5G

WASHINGTON — FCC chairman Ajit Pai said he opposes any proposal in which the federal government would be tasked with building and operating a next generation mobile network. Pai’s announcement came after a report that the Trump administration security officials are considering a plan in which the federal government would build the network and lease access to private providers. Axios reported that the rationale behind the plan is to ensure cybersecurity, particularly the threat of China. But such a plan to nationalize the wireless network conflicts with much of the philosophy of Pai and other Republican members of the FCC, which is that private enterprise is better equipped to build out a net

Monterey, CA wrestles with the ‘small cell’ conundrum

Tree-lined streets wind through the suburban Monterey Vista neighborhood, every other curve hosting a sign exclaiming “No cell towers.” In Via Pariaso Park, posted flyers show the proximity of the proposed cell phone antenna sites to the five schools in the area. After two standing-room only meetings last year where residents aired Photo: Vern Fisher, Monterey Herald complaints, further municipal meetings have been postponed or cancelled even as a rush of letters to local media protest the installation of these “next generation” cell phone towers. Many Monterey residents continue to voice objection to the installation of 13 small cells — standalone individual cellular transmission sites — i

Pole Control Fight Gets Net Neutrality Nasty

UPDATE: San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, cited below, has now announced his resignation from the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. Liccardo says in his letter: "We've made no progress toward a single proposal that will actually further the goal of equitable broadband deployment," and that "despite the good intentions of several participants, the industry heavy makeup of BDAC will simply relegate the body to being a vehicle for advancing the interests of the telecommunications industry over those of the public." ----- It's fair to say things got a little snappish at the FCC yesterday. The Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) -- which is charged with laying out recommendations to

Hampton Council, PA opposes bill that favors wireless providers

Hampton Township Council voted to oppose House Bill 1620 that would allow wireless providers the ability to install wireless structures without having to adhere to local regulations. The Wireless Infrastructure Deployment bill “removes the municipalities ability to collect funds pertaining to wireless cell phone service incorporated into the cable franchise fees, but also allows wireless infrastructure towers on private residential properties within the utility right-of-way without the property owners' consent and without township approval,” according to the township statement. For example, a company like Verizon would be able to place a cell tower anywhere they want, said Christopher Lochne

Liccardo quits key FCC committee in protest

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced Thursday that he had resigned from a key Federal Communications Commission panel because of what he described as a clear tilt toward the interests of the telecommunications industry. In Washington, D.C., this week on business, Liccardo issued a press release saying he was leaving the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee effective immediately. “When I joined this committee, I hoped that I could contribute to developing balanced, common-sense recommendations that will advance our goal of expanding broadband access for all Americans, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai identified as his ‘top priority’ at yesterday’s meeting,” Liccardo said. “It has become

Group Pushes for Broadband Solutions in Rural America

(TNS) — Earlier this month, a group of community leaders, rural advocates and innovators announced the launch of Connect Americans Now (CAN), a group committed to bringing rural Americans who lack connectivity to safe and affordable broadband Internet access into the fold by 2022. The move is intended as an equalizer that would level the playing field on educational and economic opportunities that exist in communities with better connectivity. The new alliance will work with the Federal Communications Commission and other policymakers to ensure sufficient, unlicensed low band spectrum in every market in the country to enable nationwide high-speed broadband connectivity. "All Americans — reg

CNX at BDAC January Meeting: Day Two

Today is the second and final day of the Federal Communication Commission's fourth meeting of its Broadband Development Advisory Committee in Washington D.C. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn started the long day of discussions off with opening remarks reinstating the importance of the work that the BDAC is committed to. "Additionally, while I appreciate the BDAC’s acknowledgement that public-private partnerships may provide solutions to bridge those divides, I noticed that there was an expressed preference for industry over municipalities in broadband deployment efforts. As I have said many, many times before, one size does not fit all, and private industry infrastructure investments do not a

Clyburn Pushes Broadband Advisory Committee to Support Muni Buildouts

FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn had a few choice words with the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee before its meeting Wednesday (Jan. 24). Clyburn said she is concerned the committee is too industry-focused when it comes to solutions for closing the digital divide. BDAC's charter is to advise the FCC on how best to accelerate deployment of high-speed broadband access by reducing barriers to infrastructure investment. Clyburn suggested one barrier is not fully supporting municipal buildouts of high-speed broadband service. "While I appreciate the BDAC’s acknowledgement that public-private partnerships may provide solutions to bridge those divides, I noticed that there was an expres

Wrightsville Beach, NC considers options as more cell tower applications come

With Wrightsville Beach seeing state approval of several new cell towers on state rights-of-way, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Alderman discussed how it could influence the appearance and potential location of these towers. The new towers were one of two telecommunications projects expected to improve service throughout Wrightsville Beach, while also bringing with them several new towers, as well as construction in the South Harbor Island neighborhood. At the Jan. 11 board meeting, the aldermen asked Town Attorney John Wessel what options it had in regulating the proposed new towers after he said several new applications were coming. The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation i

Jonathan Adelstein column: Don't turn Virginia into a pincushion

We all know the frustration that comes when an important phone call drops unexpectedly. Or, while working remotely, your internet network slows to mid-1990 speeds. Farmers and business people in rural areas experience the challenge every day of relying on mobile broadband for access that does not match what is available in urban areas. These challenges have important effects on public safety, educational opportunities, and economic growth. Virginia lawmakers are seeking to improve the commonwealth’s wireless infrastructure. The Wireless Infrastructure Association, based in Alexandria, shares and supports these goals. Indeed, our membership, which includes many Virginia-based businesses, has

More Than 750 American Communities Have Built Their Own Internet Networks

More communities than ever are embracing building their own broadband networks as an alternative to the Comcast status quo. According to a freshly updated map of community-owned networks, more than 750 communities across the United States have embraced operating their own broadband network, are served by local rural electric cooperatives, or have made at least some portion of a local fiber network publicly available. The map was created by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for local economies. These networks have sprung up across the nation as a direct reflection of the country’s growing frustration with sub-par broadband speeds, high prices, and poor customer

CNX at BDAC January Meeting: Day One

Today kicks off the first day of the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee's January meeting. The meeting will take place January 23-24th, 2018 in Washington D.C. CNX's Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Angela Stacy, is seated at the table with the other 29 members of the BDAC. To start off the long day ahead, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai began the meeting by reiterating the importance of the work being carried out by the BDAC. "First, the BDAC's work is critical to my top policy priority as FCC Chairman - closing the digital divide. I've long said that every American who wants to participate in the digital economy should be able to do so. And the plain reality is that if you

Building Upon a Decade of Deploying Small-Cell Solutions to Improve Connectivity

VAIL, Colo. — Crown Castle, which bills itself as the nation’s largest provider of wireless infrastructure, has a history of installing traditional cell towers that dates back to 1994 and now numbers more than 40,000—mostly located in the nation’s top 100 markets. But two Colorado success stories in particular highlight the Houston-based company’s decade-long push into small-cell solutions that set the stage for a boom in 4G LTE shared networks and now the Denver metro area’s growing move toward 5G. “Where the growth is happening across the country is the demand for 5G services,” Tanya Friese, manager of government relations for Crown Castle, told Route Fifty in an interview. “We’re really a

Broadband Bills Continue to Rain Down from Hill

The dueling broadband bill introductions from Democrats and Republicans this week continued Friday with more than a half-dozen offerings from both sides. On the Democratic side, Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) introduced H.R. 4847, the Broadband Deployment Streamlining Act, whose intent is to speed deployment by "reforming and improving" the application process for building out broadband using public lands. Last week, President Donald Trump signed two executive order to do just that. The Democratic bill: 1) "requires procedures to be established for tracking applications, monitoring the time between receipt and final decision, and reasons for denial; 2) "bases applica

Bill Would Prevent State Efforts to Limit Muni Broadband

In the latest volley in what has been a blitz of broadband bills, some House Democrats are trying to block states from passing laws limiting municipal broadband buildouts. But Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Jared Polis (D-CO) have teamed up on the Community Broadband Act, which would prohibit states from "writing laws that inhibit local governments from building their own broadband." They says that would simply be preserving the right to broadband self-determination. The bill is the second in a series of broadband bills Eshoo signaled this week were in the pipeline. She is former ranking memb

House Republicans Plan Broadband Bill Blitz

House Republican leaders say they will be introducing a series of bills this week to help effect the Trump Administration's pledge last week to boost broadband deployment, including by easing access to federal lands, to help close the rural digital divide. The Communications Subcommittee will also hold hearings on key issues, which include prioritizing infrastructure, easing the regulatory process, coordination between state, local and federal government and "clear" rules regardless of broadband tech--wired or wireless. The bills will fall into roughly three categories, say House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Communications Subcommittee chair Marsha Blackburn

Lawmakers try to help New Mexico boost cell service

State legislators have proposed a bill that would streamline the installation of small cellular facilities in public rights of way, which they say will accelerate internet speeds and enhance the state’s broadband capacity. The proposal, intended to prepare New Mexico for the arrival of 5G networks, would boost a signal that the state — in a climate where connectivity is essential for economic development — is open for more business, said Sen. Candace Gould, R-Albuquerque. “We’re just at a place where we need to upgrade,” said Gould, a co-sponsor of the measure. The proposed Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Investment Act, with identical bills filed in both chambers of the Legislatur

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