Jeff Eisenach and Mark Jamison probably will become two new FCC commissioners. How do we know this? Because President-elect Donald Trump named them his transition team to oversee his administration’s FCC and Telecommunications policy agenda.
Eisenach has a consulting history with Verizon and with the GMSA wireless Communications membership organization. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia. Eisenbach previously served in presidential transition teams. It looks to me as though he will become a Trump nominee to the commission or, if not, he will have a hand in selecting commissioners.
Jamison, a professor at the University of Florida, opposes net neutrality, among other policies. He previously worked for three years at Sprint as a lobbyist who focused on landline policy.
If Eisenbach and Jamison are any indication, the folks running the FCC will reflect more territorial attitudes, such as: “eat what you kill,” “build your own network” and “it’s all proprietary.”
Thus, things will change.
I would expect to see larger carriers, cable companies and fiber giants investing more in their own fiber as the cost of using a competitor’s fiber increases, or as the fear of the increase becomes tangible. This is good news for tower companies that already own a lot of fiber as well as those that will be encouraged to do so. It is also good news for those companies that are positioned to acquire more fiber as trusted allies of the carriers.
What I don’t see changing much are well established and fairly well accepted regulatory matters, including the FCC antenna site application shot clock, the National Environmental Policy Act, state historic preservation officer roles and antenna collocation by right. In the next four or more years, high-level changes may come on some larger issues, such as net neutrality, and on smaller issues, such as doing away with set-top cable TV box rentals and other consumer-friendly matters. Just cough up the $7 to $9 a month.
We’ll probably see reduced FCC support for rural broadband communications deployment issues, including the Community Connections Grant and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Connect America Fund. Why should the “haves” help out the “have-nots”? It is a fair question.
You chose to live in a rural area, not me. Changes in funding of these kinds of projects will disappoint many. However, core to the antenna siting industry they are not.
I envision a reduction in the regulatory hurdles carriers face from municipalities as the FCC curbs local authority to question and slow down some projects. I expect the wireless infrastructure business to strengthen, at least to some degree. It could benefit from the incoming president’s stated preference for U.S.-based manufacturing and services.
It takes a lot of energy and time to move the D.C. pendulum and make meaningful, important and lasting changes by repealing the laws you don’t like and replacing other long lasting laws. Perhaps the law or regulation should have not existed in the first place. Chances are that a law or regulation was passed in the first place because of a need —perhaps a need different than yours. But still, a need.
I hope that whatever political gyrations are yet to come will spare rules affecting worker safety. Having one wireless carrier buying another is one thing; getting home safely should never be in doubt.
Safe and happy holidays to all.