Last week, the National Association of Counties (NACo), National League of Cities (NLC) and U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, expressing concern about the lack of local representation on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC).
The BDAC was first launched on March 1, 2017 to provide advice and recommendations to the FCC on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, or “broadband,” by reducing and/or removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment.
In the joint letter sent to the FCC, NACo, NLC and USCM highlighted concerns about the BDAC’s overall lack of local government representation, and asked that moving forward the FCC continue to: honor the constitutionally guaranteed protection of fair compensation for the use of public assets such as locally controlled rights-of-way, address the perception that the BDAC is solely interested in pursuing the broadband industry’s goals by making all meetings public, and sharing drafts of all the BDAC’s working documents on the FCC’s homepage.
Additionally, NACo, NLC and USCM have asked that the FCC enhance the scope of the BDAC’s mission to consider the broadband industry’s responsibility for the broader deployment of wired and wireless broadband services, including in rural and low-income areas, and provide sufficient time for the BDAC to develop a plan that can be shared in interim final reports that are made available for public review.
Currently, the BDAC has 30 sitting members, only five of which represent a state, local or tribal government.
As the FCC and the BDAC work towards a plan to remove regulatory barriers to deploying broadband NACo will continue to engage the FCC to ensure that the concerns of county governments are considered. Additionally, NACo will work to ensure that the FCC does not move forward with any plan that would preempt the authority of local governments to manage and maintain public rights-of-way.
This article originally ran on naco.org.