Senate Ponders Legislative Boost to Wireless Broadband

Hearing to gauge need to cut drag on deployment

According to the majority staff memo for an Oct. 7 Senate Commerce Committee hearing on wireless broadband deployment, among the issues that could get the legislators' attention include getting the government to inventory what spectrum it has and how it is used; where poles, conduits and rights of way exist for public and private entities; and "dig once" initiatives for deploying fiber along highways at the same time as other utility installations.

The committee is looking at whether legislation is needed to overcome the challenges it will be looking at at the hearing, including the speed, or lack of it, of decisions on wireless facilities deployment by city planning officials, military bases and forest service agents.

In addition to hunting up new wireless spectrum, which Congress mandated in the broadcast incentive auction bill, legislators are also focused on removing barriers to deployment of the physical infrastructure.

Scheduled to testify at the hearing are Jonathan Adelstein, president of PCIA: The Wireless Infrastructure Association, which are the companies that build out the plant; Douglas Kinkoph with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, which oversees government use of spectrum; Bruce Morrison, VP at Ericsson; Cory Reed, senior VP, Deere & Co.; and Wilton Manors, Fla., Mayor Gary Resnick, chairman of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, comprising state and local officials who advise the FCC on, among other things, infrastructure buildouts.