Tower climbers are used to doing their work at great heights, sometimes 2,000 feet from the ground, but last Friday several members of NATE got to a view of the world from the highest of political heights.
Wearing their harnesses, the climbers attended a White House ceremony where President Donald Trump spoke about the importance of America’s leadership in 5G and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced two initiatives, a 5G spectrum auction and rural broadband funding.
The FCC has scheduled its third 5G spectrum auction in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz spectrum bands on December 10. “This will be the largest spectrum auction in our nation’s history. We’ll be selling 3,400 megahertz in three different bands. For those who aren’t wireless experts, that’s a lot of spectrum,” Pai said.
Second, the FCC is creating a $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to extend high-speed broadband to up to four million homes and small businesses in rural America. “These next-generation networks will bring greater economic opportunity to America’s Heartland and will help support future 5G technologies,” Pai said.
President Trump said his administration is committed to allocating as much spectrum as needed to facilitate the hundreds of billions of dollars that the wireless industry has pledged to spend on 5G deployments, as well as removing the regulatory barriers to facilitate the buildout of networks.
“We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future. The race to 5G is a race America must win, and it’s a race, frankly, that our great companies are now involved in. We’ve given them the incentive they need. It’s a race that we will win,” Trump said.
Jimmy Miller, NATE chairman, responded, “Mr. President, on behalf of the 900 members of NATE who build, deploy and maintain the wireless infrastructure in this nation, you’re fixin’ to put us to work, and we appreciated it.”
Other NATE members at the ceremony included: Carlos Church and Jordyn Ladner, MillerCo, Gulfport, Mississippi; John Dougherty, Millennia Contracting, New Castle, Delaware; Kenneth Massengale and Jeff Tinio, Teltronic Towers, Capitol Heights, Maryland; and Jack Ray, Above All Tower Climbing, Bonne Terre, Missouri.
“I would like to thank President Trump and the White House staff for the opportunity to participate in today’s event,” said Church, “It was an honor to stand by the President during his address and listen to his speech on 5G. This is an experience I will never forget.”
NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway was also on hand to accompany the Association’s delegation at the event.