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FCC Attempting To Reduce Regulatory Barriers To Private Broadband Investment

May 5, 2017

Policymakers in Washington, DC currently are focused on health care and tax reform, but after that Congress and the White House are expected to turn their attention to a plan to rebuild and enhance the nation’s infrastructure. It’s not certain whether this plan will include federal funding for broadband development. 

Either way, it might not matter.

The Coalition for the New Economy has repeatedly argued that there are better, and less costly, ways to spur broadband innovation and investment than using taxpayer funds to build or subsidize government-owned broadband networks. One of the suggestions the Coalition has made is to reduce regulatory barriers to entry for private Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Thankfully, as Internet Innovation Alliance Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons explained in a HuffingtonPost column this week, that’s exactly what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is trying to do. According to Simmons, the FCC “has been seeking to promote broadband deployment by removing some existing barriers to infrastructure investment.”

Specifically, the FCC is looking at three things. First, their efforts have included requiring that utilities “speed up their decision-making process when service providers request access to utility poles to provide broadband service.” Simmons says that while these efforts might not be “sexy,” they are “necessary” in order to advance broadband development since “it can be hard for providers to get access to rights-of-way and to the poles themselves.”

Second, the FCC is trying to find ways “to speed up retirement of antiquated legacy systems so that providers can invest and build out more modern broadband communications networks.” Finally, the FCC also is examining federal regulations “that raise costs and delay or inhibit broadband deployment.”

Other than FCC personnel’s own efforts to explore these options, these solutions won’t cost taxpayers a time. And, as Simmons says, “Streamlined rules and faster approvals will help companies deploy more broadband more quickly.”

That’s good for all Americans.