Archive for June, 2015
Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Few areas of our economy hold more promise for aspiring entrepreneurs plus innovators than the wireless broadband industry. According to a Boston Consulting Team analysis, it already contributes $548 billion annually to U. T. GDP, and it is projected to account for 5 percent of our economy by 2020. BCG also reports that 90 percent of mobile consumers desire even faster data speeds, broader coverage and other improvements. The possibilities being created by the wireless trend are massive and will only carry on and grow.
Small businesses, including women- and minority-owned businesses plus rural service providers, should have the opportunity to reveal in this growth, but they have faced significant barriers to meaningful involvement in the industry. At our next Open Meeting, the Commission will vote on rules that would revamp our own outdated spectrum auction bidding procedures to help these entities better compete in today’s mobile marketplace. Simultaneously, our reforms will enhance the sincerity of the FCC’s auctions and ensure large corporations can’t game the system.
Making sure small businesses have genuine opportunities to provide spectrum-based services is certainly a goal of Congress and the Commission rate. In the 1990s, the Commission enacted rules creating bidding credits with regard to small businesses in spectrum auctions, fulfilling our Congressional mandate to help these entities compete more meaningfully at federal spectrum auctions.
It has never been more essential to wireless competition to help smaller sized businesses obtain additional investment and offer more choices to consumers. Nevertheless , the Commission’s competitive bidding rules have not been updated since 2006. Nine years ago, most mobile clients still relied on 2G connections, while today we’re leading the world in 4G and looking towards a 5G future. Considering the rapid modifications in our marketplace and the significant challenges new entrants face in building wi-fi networks, now is the time to update our own auction policies and provide smaller businesses— including carriers serving rural locations – a better on-ramp into the wi-fi industry.
The set up revised rules I circulated to the other Commissioners today would provide better flexibility for qualified small businesses so that they can better compete. For example , in today’s mature wireless industry, offering facilities-based wireless service is no longer a viable company plan for small enterprises, yet that is what our rules require in order for small businesses to qualify for bidding credit. We propose eliminating this constraint on business model innovation and freeing small businesses to make decisions that work great for them. The rules would also build a new rural business bidding credit score that will incentivize participation in upcoming auctions by rural service providers in the communities they serve.
In addition to expanding opportunities for smaller businesses, the modernized rules will increase visibility and efficiency to prevent potential video gaming or abuse, as well as protect the particular integrity of the Commission’s auction process. In particular, we establish the first-ever cap on the total value of bidding credits, minimizing an incentive for major corporations to try to take advantage of the program. We should also make sure that small businesses receiving credit are exercising independent decision-making expert. We will not allow small businesses to serve as a stalking horse another party.
The Commission rate will also consider another item aimed at promoting competition in the wireless market. As part of last year’s update to the Mobile Spectrum Holding rules, the particular Commission voted toimplement a market-based reserve of up to 30 megahertz associated with spectrum per market in the Motivation Auction for bidders that do not currently hold significant amounts of low-band range, provided that eligible bidders pay their particular fair share of auction expenses.
The Incentive Auction offers one of the last opportunities with regard to competitors to acquire significant quantities associated with low-band spectrum. With more than 70 % of low-band spectrum in the hands of just two providers, among the Commission’s priorities is to ensure that several providers have a meaningful opportunity to acquire these valuable airwaves, which is critical to competition among wireless companies. This is why the Commission voted to create aside this reserve a year ago.
While some parties have petitioned the Commission to increase the size of the particular reserve, the draft Order upon Reconsideration I am circulating today might maintain the reserve size at the current level. The draft Order concludes that the current reserve size associated with 30 megahertz balances the desire to make low-band spectrum available to parties along with limited holdings while facilitating aggressive bidding for all auction participants.
The rules adopted last year enable national carriers to bid with regard to reserve spectrum in markets by which they have limited low-band spectrum , nor restrict any reserve-eligible bidder through bidding on unreserved licenses. You will have significant spectrum made available in all marketplaces of the country to all bidders. Because of this, consumers will benefit directly from competition in all parts of the country.
We are going to also consider a Public Notice establishing the bidding procedures for the Motivation Auction, which is set to commence in the first quarter of 2016. The general public Notice reflects the views of several parties who provided comments in the Commission’s initial proposal in December 2014, resulting in a balanced solution that satisfies the Commission’s statutory obligations plus ensures the flow of the auction is transparent and straightforward.
It is another crucial advance in the process of designing and implementing an effective and efficient auction which will bring more capacity for wireless high speed services to consumers.
I look forward to working with my co-workers to update the Commission’s rules to increase competitive access to spectrum and supply consumers and businesses with more options of wireless providers, lower costs and higher quality services.
Friday, June 19th, 2015
Earlier this month, I traveled to Mexico as part of a U. S. Government delegation – including the FCC and Departments of Condition and Commerce – attending the first high-level spectrum discussion since South america established the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT). We were warmly welcome by IFT, the Secretariat of Communications and Transport and the Secretariat of Foreign Relations.
We traveled to Mexico to advance ongoing staff discussions on important telecommunications and cross-border spectrum coordination issues and further improve the bilateral relationship between each countries on these issues. From the perspective, both delegations were very pleased with the outcome of these discussions. (IFT’s take on these discussions)
Specifically, we agreed to work together on a revised agreement that would facilitate implementation of Positive Teach Control technology in the 220-222 Megahertz band along the common border. PTC systems are intended to reduce the risk of train accidents by enabling real-time info sharing between trains, rail wayside devices, and control centers. PTC technology is designed to automatically slow or stop a train in order to avoid a collision or derailment.
On 800 Megahertz, which is a band the FCC is certainly reconfiguring for public safety and first responder radio communication, all of us agreed to a roadmap accelerating the particular reconfiguration process along the common edge. The roadmap is in accordance with a Protocol signed with Mexico in 2012. It includes a process for confirming when channels are cleared in South america.
In addition , we are working on a joint repurposing of the 600 MHz band. IFT and the FCC have developed a specialized plan that will enable IFT to complete its DTV transition and DTV auction initiatives while also accommodating the FCC’s incentive auction. This plan places Mexican TV stations below channel 37 while providing additional channels for U. S. channels to use in the reorganized TV band.
I actually look forward to continuing these discussions with our Mexican colleagues, and am eager to see the results of our work as well as the deployment of advanced technology and services to the mutual benefit of citizens both in countries.
Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
This Sunday marks the first day associated with summer, and what will be the critical time of year for finalizing key details pertaining to next year’s Incentive Auction. This two-sided auction will use market makes to make available more low-band spectrum to meet the wireless broadband needs of consumers and businesses for the twenty-first one hundred year, and to promote a competitive wi-fi marketplace. More spectrum will encourage innovation, economic growth and result in greater consumer choice.
Commission staff recently wrapped upward a nationwide tour of information classes with broadcasters and, in order to verify with interested broadcasters that all celebrations are counted, released a list of auction-eligible stations. Last week, the full Commission accepted revised rules to provide broadcasters with additional flexibility to reach agreements to share their own spectrum with other TV stations, which broadcasters have told us would give them more incentive to take part in the auction.
Right now we turn to the crucial task associated with finalizing our auction rules. To be able to serve as the foundation for a successful public sale that best serves the public, all those rules must carefully balance the number of goals that Congress founded for us. For the last 19 months all the interested parties have been jockeying pertaining to rules that benefit their placement. I understand the jockeying – I actually once engaged in it myself – but it is now time to end the back-and-forth and make decisions. Not one party will be happy with everything we have done, but the final product is a balanced solution to a challenging situation with additional moving parts than a Swiss watch. One message we heard noisy and clear, however , was that the last rules must be as simple as possible. We have thus eliminated earlier ideas that added to complexity.
The other day, Commission staff briefed the Commissioners’ staffs on proposed recommendations to determine final rules for the auction that balance our statutory obligations, heeds commenters’ calls for simplicity and transparency in the flow of the auction, plus – most importantly – serves the public’s interest in an effective, efficient, plus timely auction
The particular proposal aims to clear the highest possible amount of spectrum for broadband consistent with broadcasters’ voluntary decisions to relinquish some or all of their spectrum usage rights. At the same time the proposal limits the number of impaired new licenses that are developed in those isolated instances where it is necessary to relocate a TV broadcaster on the same or adjacent frequencies as those being auctioned. The particular proposal eliminates bidding procedures that lots of commenters believed were burdensome and may limit broadcaster participation. It also adopts a formula for opening bid prices that creates value pertaining to both broadcasters and American taxpayers. The proposal responds to demands to make more information about bidding available to bidders before and during the public sale. And it ensures that competitive wireless companies and new entrants have a obvious shot at adding sufficient low-band spectrum to their portfolios so that they can contend more effectively in both rural and cities.
The proposal displays an incredible amount of modeling and the consideration and analysis of all parties’ comments and concerns in a robust criminal record. The proposed package of rules is designed to best serve the broad public interest – and that is the true test of good public policy.
Hard decisions in difficult situations mean that no stakeholder will get exactly what it wants. Taken as a whole, nevertheless , the proposal we will present to the Commissioners strikes a fair balance that serves the greater public interest. The particular American people will be the real winners.
Monday, June 15th, 2015
Today the FCC declared that the Communications Security, Reliability plus Interoperability Council (or “CSRIC”) continues to be re-chartered for two more years as well as announced the members of the brand new CSRIC. CSRIC is a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to the FCC on actions the Commission can take to help ensure the security and dependability of communications systems.
CSRIC members are a diverse number of expert stakeholders from the public plus private sectors. John Schanz, Professional Vice President and Chief System Officer for Comcast Cable, would be the Chair of the CSRIC, and we are very happy that he will be steering this effort. Schanz, one of the nation’s frontrunners in securing commercial communications networks, brings invaluable expertise to this role at a time when both the challenges plus opportunities presented by evolving technology are greater than ever.
CSRIC V, named so as this is the fifth re-chartering of the council, will hold its first public conference on June 24. It will have the busy agenda. We expect to charge these experts with developing recommendations on issues including how to reduce the rate of recurrence and impact of misrouted 911 calls, how to improve Next Generation emergency alerting and 911 services, and the way to enhance the resiliency and reliability of communications infrastructure, especially as towns depend increasingly on wireless providers. I also expect that members may examine the challenges associated with prioritizing emergency communications during disaster-related facilities outages.
In addition , we’ll ask CSRIC V to work on cybersecurity issues. One of CSRIC IV’s biggest achievements was developing plus recommending voluntary mechanisms by which the particular communications industry can improve the management of cyber risks. I expect the new CSRIC to build on these efforts by developing recommendations on how communications companies can enhance information sharing about cyber dangers within the private sector.
This will be a robust agenda, but one which focuses on achieving outcomes that are good for the companies participating, good for communities, plus good for consumers. Thank you to all the particular members of CSRIC V who will be taking on this important work.