In the spirit of "physician heal thyself," the
FCC's Technology Advisory Council (TAC),
composed of 45 private sector execs and FCC representatives, says the federal
government needs to do a better job of advancing broadband network deployment
on federal lands and buildings, particularly in congested urban areas.
In addition, the government should lead in the innovation of
micro cell sites to more efficiently leverage existing spectrum and come up
with measures of broadband network quality beyond simply through-put speed.
Those are among the initial recommendations made by TAC
in a "midterm" memo (the council was chartered in October) to FCC
Chairman Julius Genachowski and the other commissioners Monday, according
to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Technological Advisory Council and former head
of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and CTIA.
TAC is recommending
that the FCC formally ask President Barack Obama to issue an executive order
mandating a streamlining process for getting broadband on federal property,
including a single-document permit, a single federal agency to coordinate the
process, and a 60-day shot clock for approvals.
Per Genachowski's charter, TAC
has been looking at how it can promote job creation and innovation in the
near-term and without necessarily having to go through a rulemaking procedure
to do it, said Wheeler in a call with reporters Monday.
Wheeler said the recommendations said the eight
recommendations were the first iterations of TAC's
efforts, and that more, including on creating new IPv6 internet addresses to deal with exploding demand would be forthcoming.
"You can take to the bank that the next generation of recommendations from
us [likely in late summer] will be heavy on IPv6," said Wheeler.
Among the other recommendation, most employing the FCC a
bully pulpit and official encourager, included launching a municipal "race
to the top" program to highlight cities and towns that are promoting
broadband infrastructure deployment and collecting best practices from those
examples; encouraging a "dig once" regime for excavating rights of
way that includes creating a web site where those could be coordinated, and
encouraging states and localities to make tower-citing easier, including with a
shortened shot clock for approvals--the FCC has been leading the way on
streamlined access with its recent revisions to its own rules on
pole-attachment rates and rights of way.
"We're asking the FCC to be on a hunt for best
performers through a race to the top process, Wheeler said.
But while most of the recommendations rely on a bully
pulpit, the tower-citing recommendation has a sting in the tail. "If
states and municipalities do not agree to expedite co-location
approvals," TAC says, "the
Commission should express its willingness to proceed with a new, shorter "shot
clock" rule for co-locations."
Asked to elaborate, Wheeler said: "The recommendation
of the TAC is that the commission use
its existing leadership pulpit to push for this, and that how folks respond to
that voluntary push should then be the fact set that informs what the next
step, if any, needs to be."
Genachowksi advisor Josh Gottheimer, who was on the
call with reporters, said the chairman would be reviewing the recommendations
with TAC and the other commissioners,
after which "the [commission} will come back with a time line for action."