The FCC’s Broadband Acceleration Initiative is working to expand the reach of robust, affordable broadband by streamlining access to utility poles and rights of way, and improving policies for wireless facilities siting and other infrastructure. Improving policies for accessing rights of way and obtaining approval for the deployment of wireless facilities necessary for broadband can accelerate and expand broadband deployment.
On February 9, 2011, the FCC launched the Initiative by hosting the Broadband Acceleration Conference, which convened leaders from federal, state and local governments, broadband providers, telecommunications carriers, tower companies, equipment suppliers and utility companies to identify ways to facilitate broadband buildout.
Consistent with the National Broadband Plan’s “infrastructure” recommendations, the FCC has already taken a number of steps to ease access to broadband infrastructure and lower the costs of deployment:
- Increased access to wireless spectrum for broadband by allowing use of the “white spaces” not used by licensed services while protecting incumbent services from harmful interference (Sept. 2010)
- Ensured timely action on tower siting applications by establishing a “shot clock” setting time limits on applications while respecting local authority – time frames reflect processing times achieved by majority of localities (Nov. 2010)
- Hosted a conference to publicly discuss the Broadband Acceleration Initiative as a National Strategy (Feb. 2011)
- Released a Notice of Inquiry to learn more about key challenges and best practices concerning government policies for access to rights of way and wireless facilities citing (Apr. 2011)
- Adopted an Order that improves efficiency and reduces the potentially excessive costs of pole attachments in order to accelerate broadband buildout (Apr. 2011)
- Adopted an Order that removed regulatory barriers to make additional spectrum available for fixed wireless service use and provided additional flexibility to enable fixed wireless service licensees to reduce operational costs, increase reliability, and facilitate use of wireless backhaul in rural areas (Aug. 2011)
- Hosted workshops on DAS and other small cell solutions (Feb. 2012) and collocation (May 2012) to provide community leaders with an overview of how new technology and deployment practices can promote the availability of mobile broadband.
- Supported White House Office of Science and Technology Policy initiative to address issues concerning access to Federal lands, buildings and Federally supported highways for the deployment of broadband facilities (Executive Order No. 13616, June 14, 2012)