WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a full committee hearing entitled “Removing Barriers to Wireless Broadband Deployment” on Wednesday, October 7 at 10:00 a.m. In July, the Commerce Committee convened its first wireless broadband hearing entitled “Wireless Broadband and the Future of Spectrum Policy.” This series of hearings is designed to culminate with long-term broadband legislation.
- Mr. Douglas Kinkoph, Associate Administrator, Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
- The Honorable Jonathan Adelstein, President & CEO, PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association
- The Honorable Gary Resnick, Mayor of Wilton Manors
- Mr. Cory Reed, Senior Vice President, Intelligent Solutions, Deere & Company
- Mr. Bruce Morrison, Vice President, Operations and Network Build, Region North America, Ericsson
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Full Committee Hearing entitled “Removing Barriers to Wireless Broadband Deployment”
This hearing will take place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
For reporters interested in reserving a seat, please contact the press gallery:
• Periodical Press Gallery – 202-224-0265
• Radio/Television Gallery – 202-224-6421
• Press Photographers Gallery – 202-224-6548
• Daily Press Gallery – 202-224-0241
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.
Chairman John Thune
"This morning, our Committee meets again to examine policies related to spectrum and wireless broadband. As I mentioned at our July hearing on “Wireless Broadband and the Future of Spectrum Policy,” we have an opportunity to develop meaningful legislation to further promote economic development and the many benefits fueled by increased mobile connectivity. Similar to the feedback from our last hearing, I look forward to hearing from my colleagues and our witnesses about ideas they may have for such legislation. I also invite stakeholders not here today to share their ideas with the Committee in the coming days and weeks.
"Opening more spectrum for commercial use can bring in revenue to pay down our national debt and fund other priorities. But, the more lasting economic benefits spurred by spectrum availability – new jobs, technological innovation, and increased consumer welfare – depend on spectrum actually being used by individuals across the country. That requires the design, construction, deployment, and maintenance of physical facilities, including towers, antennas, fiber optic cables, and servers.
"The benefits of increased wireless deployment go well beyond the value of improving mobile connectivity for individuals where they live. There is also tremendous potential in bringing connectivity to unserved areas where people may not reside, but where they do work and play, like farmland and park lands. Facilitating personal mobile devices and machine-to-machine communications in these areas holds great promise to improve public health and safety, increase agricultural productivity, and better manage natural resources.
"Telecommunication and broadband connectivity in rural America not only opens doors for individuals and families but also enables new opportunities for farmers and ranchers when it comes to the millions of acres land that they actively manage. Machine-to-machine and machine-to-farm communication is already delivering new productivity gains – and promises much more benefit for American farmers, environmental stewardship, and the economic future of rural communities. I look forward to hearing testimony today about some of these innovative solutions and how public policy can facilitate their ongoing development.
"Improving broadband infrastructure deployment has received increasing legislative, administrative, and regulatory attention in recent years. Most recently, the Broadband Opportunity Council concluded a months-long review among 25 federal agencies, led by the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, to produce recommendations to increase broadband deployment through existing agency programs, missions, and budgets. We are pleased to have NTIA before us today to explain the recent report and discuss its role as a facilitator of inter-agency activities related to broadband.
"Universal broadband connectivity is a national objective, but its pursuit ultimately involves thousands of decisions made at the local level. These decisions are made by private enterprises determining where to deploy facilities and where to risk capital. They are also made by local and federal government authorities who are charged with protecting their constituents’ interests – authorities like city planning officials, military base personnel, and forestry managers. Today, we will hear more detail about what goes into these decision processes, how they operate in practice, and how Congress can help to improve their efficiency.
"I am encouraged by the broad engagement of Members on this Committee in efforts to promote wireless broadband deployment. Members on both sides of the aisle are working on a bipartisan basis to develop pragmatic concepts into actionable legislation, as well as trying to identify new bright ideas. I invite all of our members to continue working with one another to understand these issues, to create a fulsome record, and to craft broadband deployment legislation for action in this Congress. I am committed to this effort and believe it is among the most important work of this Committee."
Ranking Member Nelson.
I want to thank Chairman Thune for holding this hearing on wireless infrastructure deployment.
I also want to welcome all of our witnesses and in particular, want to welcome Gary Resnick, mayor of the great city of Wilton Manors, Florida. Mayor Resnick, we are so pleased that you could join us today. You will be able to provide an important local government perspective to our discussion.
We are all here because Americans’ demand for – and reliance on – wireless broadband services seems to know no bounds.
As more and more Americans use their wireless devices as their primary means of accessing the Internet, the demand for wireless broadband services has begun to exhaust both the spectrum over which wireless communications ride and the underlying infrastructure that is the physical foundation for the nation’s wireless networks.
The need for additional spectrum always seems to garner the most attention, but if we are serious about setting an effective forward-looking wireless policy for the nation, we also must look at the infrastructure side of the wireless coin.
We continue to hear concerns about delay and the processes required for getting additional wireless infrastructure deployed throughout the country.
That is because building these networks implicates a number of very important issues – from historic preservation and environmental concerns to state and local land use policies, tribal sovereignty, and national security.
My hope is that all stakeholders, including those represented before us today, can work together to help us find ways to effectively balance the competing concerns about siting and construction of wireless facilities and consumers’ increasing demand for fast and reliable wireless broadband services. I look forward to hearing the thoughts of our witnesses on these challenges.
I also look forward to hearing from our NTIA witness about steps the administration already is taking to increase opportunities for deployment of wireless infrastructure on federal lands and buildings.
The recent Broadband Opportunity Council report includes a number of recommendations on ways to speed broadband deployment on federal lands. And just last week, the General Services Administration, under guidance from Congress in our last major spectrum policy bill, took significant steps to improve the processes for seeking access to federal lands and buildings for the placement of wireless infrastructure.
Finally, as I said at our spectrum hearing in July, I stand ready and willing to work with Chairman Thune and all of the stakeholders to find areas of bipartisan consensus so we can address the future of U.S. wireless policy.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Douglas KinkophAssociate Administrator, Office of Telecommunications and Information ApplicationsNational Telecommunications and Information Administration
The Honorable Jonathan AdelsteinPresident & CEOPCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association
The Honorable Gary ResnickMayor of Wilton Manors
Mr. Cory ReedSenior Vice PresidentIntelligent Solutions, Deere & Company
Mr. Bruce MorrisonVice President, Operations and Network Build, Region North AmericaEricsson