Statement: FCC Infrastructure Order Will Upend Local Throttling, Blocking of ‘Net Growth

by Mike Wendy on September 26, 2018

The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President of MediaFreedom.org:

Alexandria, VA, September 26, 2018 – MediaFreedom applauds today’s FCC action which will help upend a major impediment to the growth of new broadband wireless services such as 5G: the local regulatory extortion racket, which throttles and blocks new wireless infrastructure until proper tribute has been extracted from market players.

With each year, broadband delivery has become more wireless than wired. The next generation of wireless broadband – 5G – will be up to a thousand times faster than its predecessor. But this innovation means that the cell sites which support it must become more dense and closer to residents and businesses. Industry estimates this new architecture – or, small cells – will number about 800,000 for the service to properly scale on a national level.

Enter the local mob.

5G will need a lot of “permission slips” from local authorities to access public rights-of-way, buildings and light poles to place backpack-sized, small cell technology where it can work. Sadly, for many state and local officials, monopoly control of this property represents a “revenue-making” (as in, extortion) opportunity. ISPs constructing infrastructure oftentimes experience slow-rolled review of permits, non-cost-related, $2,000 price tags for each small cell site, and demands for other “favors” or unrelated requirements so they can deliver service in a locality.

Spread out over thousands of state and local jurisdictions across America, the time consuming and extortive process is simply not compatible with expeditious and ubiquitous broadband growth.

Today’s actions build on other Federal, state and local efforts to end local Lilliputian throttling / blocking of Internet growth. Among other things, the FCC rules will bring siting fees more in line with true costs, provide guidance on “non-fee” requirements for buildouts, and subject permit approvals to defined timeframes. Quite simply, the FCC’s plan reflects a commonsense, flexible and national approach to remove state and local barriers which Balkanize the Internet, and keep Americans needlessly wired to the past.

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