December 3, 2015 — It’s good to have friends in high places. Wireless continued to have a friend on Capitol Hill as the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology approved bipartisan proposals to promote broadband network deployment and increase spectrum availability.
The subcommittee passed H.R. 1641, the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act, which would allow federal agencies to participate an incentive auction program where they would relinquish their spectrum in exchange for a percentage of the auction proceeds. Similar to the upcoming broadcast incentive auction.
“Furthermore, providing incentives for the Federal government – the largest holder of spectrum – to make more spectrum available for non-Federal uses, such as mobile broadband services, is an important objective,” TIA CEO Scott Belcher said in a statement.
Additionally, Congress would require an inventory of federal communications assets and streamline approvals of wireless facilities on federal lands and promote the use of utility poles in the deployment of broadband.
“Simplifying the process of siting broadband infrastructure on federal property and accelerating historic preservation reviews of communications facilities is an important step toward bringing world-class mobile broadband service to every region in the country,” Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, said in a statement.
The bill also requires the installation of broadband conduit in certain federally funded highway projects. “According to some estimates, 90 percent of the cost of network installation results from digging up and repairing roadways to install conduit. The bill’s ‘dig once’ provision will help ensure cost-efficient and timely broadband expansion to more Americans,” Belcher said.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for approval.