Diversity Groups Stake Out 6G Equity

FCC Building
(Image credit: FCC)

Diversity groups want the FCC to start now to bake equity into 6G wireless and they have their own five point plan for how to get that done, including extending the cable procurement rule to "all FCC-regulated technologies' and setting benchmark percentages of contracts that must go to minority and women-owned firms.

That comes after acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said at the 20th Americas Spectrum Management Conference earlier this month that given the issues with 5G, from the need for midband spectrum to global standards to supply chain security, it was already time to start "serious thinking about "how we can better
position ourselves for success with 6G."

In a letter to Rosenworcel Monday (Nov. 8) a copy of which was obtained by Multichannel News, the groups, led by Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council and including Rainbow PUSH, the NAACP and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, cited her speech and said given that equity planning for 5G--rural access, homework gap, affordability--"started late," the FCC should get out in front of the issue for the next generation.

"Considering the fact that minority procurement is now federal policy, and as it contemplates the delivery of 6G, MMTC is joining with [other] organizations to urge the FCC to take these five steps to ensure the delivery of affordable and accessible services to communities of color..."

The steps are:

1. "Include a diverse contingent of engineers and demographers on the Technological Advisory Committee.

2. "Direct the Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC) to develop a plan for the training and inclusion of small, minority, and women-owned contractors in the 6G rollout.

3. "Provide the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) with the personnel and resources it will need in order to conduct technical and entrepreneurial training for the 6G opportunity.

4. "Set a specific benchmark for 6G’s deployment contracting for MBEs [minority business enterprises] and WBEs [women business enterprises] such as was done in Atlanta, which set a goal of 25% for airport contracts."

5. Grant MMTC’s proposal to extend the highly successful Cable Procurement Rule to all FCC-regulated technologies. Adopted in 1993 in the wake of the 1992 Cable Act, the Rule requires cable operators to “encourage minority and female entrepreneurs to conduct business with all parts of its operation; and...analyze the results of its efforts to recruit, hire, promote, and use the services of minorities and women and explain any difficulties encountered in implementing its equal employment opportunity program.”

MMTC has long pushed the FCC to extend the cable contracting rule to broadcasters.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.