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Senate Commerce Looks at Wireless Broadband Deployment

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing Oct. 7 on how to help pave the way for more wireless broadband.

“Removing Barriers to Wireless Broadband Deployment” is to be the second in a series of hearings meant to culminate in that legislation.

The first hearing was last July and looked at policy issues.

Congress has already taken a big step by authorizing the broadcast incentive auction, which is scheduled to start next March.

But Commerce chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) has said the committee needs to look beyond the upcoming incentive auction to future spectrum needs, including looking at freeing up government spectrum.

“When Congress talks about promoting American technological innovation, chances are it involves wireless broadband,” said Thune in announcing the latest hearing. “For Americans in rural communities, access to technological innovation is increasingly dependent on the availability of robust wireless networks. This hearing will examine barriers, regulatory and otherwise, to the deployment of wireless broadband facilities, infrastructure, and service.”

The FCC has taken steps already to help ease physical deployment, including making it easier and faster to site new towers and putting a shot clock on local government action on siting requests.