COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURNRe:
Review of Foreign Ownership Policies for Common Carrier and Aeronautical Radio Licensees
under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act of 1934, as Amended, IB Docket No. 11-133.
Facilitating tower construction, providing more options for backhaul services, enabling greater
use of unlicensed spectrum, promoting data roaming agreements, and repurposing spectrum for
commercial broadband use -- all of these objectives and subsequent proceedings under Chairman
Genachowski’s leadership, are key to the realization of higher quality data services and more competitive
mobile service options for consumers. But in order to take advantage of these worthwhile policies, and
fuel other actions to improve their networks, providers need substantial amounts of capital investment.
Investment in wireless networks not only improves broadband capacity, and other mobile services
for consumers, it fosters economic growth and job creation. A 2012 Report by the White House’s
Council of Economic Advisors makes clear, that investment in wireless broadband networks substantially
increases out domestic economic growth. One study, cited by that Report, estimates that, from 2003 to
2009, entities invested $11.6 billion in wireless and satellite technologies, and that infusion created over
168,000 new jobs, during that timeframe. So why should that excite us? Investment in advanced wireless
networks can collectively reduce our deficit, improve public safety, and bolster our Nation's economy.
That is why President Obama, in 2011, set a goal of providing 4G services to at least 98 percent of
Americans by 2016 and that is why we will should and will continue to do all we can, to encourage more
domestic and foreign investment in wireless networks.
As this Order explains, the process for reviewing increases of foreign interests in licensees, under
Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act, is an area where the Commission can facilitate greater
investment in mobile networks. That statute and our case precedent, requires us to ensure that certain
increases in foreign investment do not adversely impact important interests such as national security, law
enforcement, and public safety. But, we can substantially reduce the number of petitions and other
administrative hurdles that parties incur when trying to show that increases in foreign ownership of U.S.
licensees would serve the public interest.
Through the capable leadership of Mindel De La Torre, Susan O’Connell, Kate Collins, and other
staff members with decades of experience in these proceedings, we have found several creative ways to
exercise the discretion Congress gave us, while substantially facilitating more foreign investment in more
streamlined manner. By codifying our foreign ownership policies and procedures, we are encouraging
more foreign investment by providing more regulatory predictability and guidance about the information
we need to review and approve these applications. We have substantially reduced the number of non-
controlling foreign interests that must be reported, and removed unnecessary burdens in the filing
investment applications. We have reduced the number of petitions that must be filed by eliminating the
need for U.S. parent companies to return to the Commission every time an already approved foreign
investor seeks to increase its interest on an incremental basis. The staff also took a prudent course, by
coordinating this Order with the United States Trade Representative, Department of Homeland Security,
Department of Justice, and NTIA, to ensure these rule changes would not impede those agencies from
properly assessing our national interests.
Facilitating investment in our wireless licensees is a critical part of a national strategy to advance
our wireless services industry and improve economic growth. These changes go a long way toward
realizing this key objective and that is why, I am pleased to support this order.
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