Gentz: Because enough isn’t happening already, the FCC makes news

Agit Pai, Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released information on what three major initiatives the Commission is working on.

The Commission is focused on a roll-out of 5G. Pai says that, “5G will require companies to deploy hundreds of thousands of small cells (operating at lower power), and many more miles of fiber to carry all of the traffic. That’s why the FCC is working on modernizing the rules for that kind of infrastructure.

Pai continues: “We shouldn’t apply burdensome rules designed for 100-foot towers to small cells the size of a pizza box. If America is to lead the world in 5G, we need to modernize our regulations so that infrastructure can be deployed promptly and at scale.”

He also states that he has been working to make the agency more agile and responsive, stating, “Bureaucratic inertia can be poison to innovation. That’s why, if an innovator asks the FCC to approve a new technology or service, we’ll make a decision within one year (light-speed by government standards). Federal law already requires the FCC to meet that timeline, but that rule has largely been ignored since its adoption decades ago. Under this administration, those seeking to innovate will no longer need to wait indefinitely for an answer.”

Finally, he discusses some of the new technologies, and how the FCC is working on the, “introduction of the next-generation television standard. This new technical standard is the first one to marry the advantages of broadcasting and the Internet.

Imagine if television stations could offer 4K video, immersive audio, better accessibility features for Americans with disabilities, localized and advanced emergency alerts, and reception on mobile devices.

All of this could be made possible by next-generation television. Our gal is to approve this new standard by the end of the year so that television broadcasters can begin to use it on a voluntary, market-driven basis.”

All of his comments can be found here.

The Commission will Likely Soon Again Be Complete

President Trump has set forth nominations for the two vacant spots on the Commission which include Brendan Carr (R), and Jessica Rosenworcel (D).

Brendan Carr has been a legal advisor to Chairman Pai and has worked at the agency for over five years. He has a strong background in wireless policy and public safety.

Jessica Rosenworcel has a bit of an interesting background. Back in February, Clay&Milk took a look at the important things to note about the FCC for 2017.

It’s noted that Jessica Rosenworcel served on the commission under President Obama and was resubmitted to serve on the Commission while he was still president. At the time it was thought to be a long shot she would be a commissioner again, but it appears it will likely happen.

Both nominees must be confirmed by the Senate, (which is likely) and once they do, the Commission will be full with a 3-2 partisan split (Republicans holding the majority- as that is the party currently in the WhiteHouse)..

GAO: Additional Action Needed to Address Significant Risks in FCC’s Lifeline Program

On a not so high note for the FCC, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report was released that shows $1.2 Million from the Lifeline Program was paid to fake or deceased individuals.

The study was requested four years ago by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and the results show a complete lack of oversight for this program. The Lifeline program has no evaluation in place to gauge the effectiveness. According to The Hill, “The GAO tested 19 of the roughly 900 providers and found phone companies approved applicants for fraudulent individuals 63 percent of the time.” The full report can be found here.

Interestingly enough, Commissioner Rosenworcel worked to expand the Lifeline program, and this report is coming out around the time Senators will be talking with her for the confirmation period. It likely won’t impact her overall confirmation as she is well liked by both parties and industry, but rest assured this will come up at her confirmation hearing.