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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.

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.