Thune Slates 5G Field Hearing

Sen John Thune (R-S.D.) is holding a 5G hearing at Carnegie Hall.

More specifically, that would be Carnegie Town Hall in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Oct. 12, where Thune will focus on barriers to deployment of next-gen wireless.

There to provide the FCC view of that challenge will be the FCC commissioner who is championing the FCC's efforts to speed deployment by removing barriers like extensive local site reviews, commissioner Brendan Carr.

Over the objections of local government officials and the reservations of Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC voted last month to streamline the path to small cell deployment, billing it as crucial to the rollout of 5G wireless service, an FCC and Trump Administration priority.

Carr, who championed the item, said it would cut $2 billion in red tape, "which changes the prospects for communities that might otherwise be left behind" in the effort to close the digital divide, he said.

Other witnesses at the Oct. 12 hearing will be Sioux Falls mayor Paul TenHaken; Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University; Robert Fisher, SVP, federal government affairs, for Verizon; and Justin Forde, senior director, government relations, for Midcontinent Communications.

Like many inside and outside the Beltway, Thune is focused on the problems and challenges of deploying next-gen wireless broadband, particularly making sure that rural areas like his home state are not left behind in the rush to a 5G-driven, Iot-centric world.

Thune spoke at a recent White House summit on 5G, where he put in a plug for freeing up more spectrum, including unlicensed."we must be mindful of the critical role unlicensed spectrum plays in the development of 5G and throughout the communications landscape," he told the White House gathering. "WiFi operating on unlicensed spectrum is responsible for a tremendous and growing amount of the data transmitted in our homes and offices, and will play an increasing role in the future."

ISPs would second that notion since WiFi hotspots are currently the primary mobile broadband play for cable broadband providers.

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.