From Wireless Estimator

April 6, 2017

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced that members and leaders of the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) were selected to serve on the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), a new federal advisory committee charged with exploring ways to accelerate deployment of high-speed Internet access nationwide and to close the digital divide.

WIA members named to the Committee include: Marc Ganzi, Chief Executive Officer of Digital Bridge Holdings LLC and former Chairman of WIA; Ken Simon, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Crown Castle International Corp.; Douglas Dimitroff, Partner at Phillips Lytle LLP on behalf of the New York State Wireless Association; Chris Bondurant, Assistant Vice President, Construction and Engineering Operations at AT&T Mobile; and Milo Medin, Vice President, Access Services at Google Fiber. Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO of WIA, was also named to the Committee.

“I’m thrilled so many key industry leaders and WIA members were included, and personally honored to be asked to serve on such an important Committee and to represent the more than 200 members of the Wireless Infrastructure Association,” said Adelstein, who served on the FCC from 2002 to 2009. “I’m especially pleased to have the opportunity to Chair the Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group. As much as 30 percent of the United States’ land mass is owned or controlled by the federal government. Opening access and streamlining siting on these lands is key to delivering broadband to more citizens, especially in rural America.”

“The work this Committee will do will no doubt influence how broadband networks are deployed for years to come in both urban and rural communities across the country,” Adelstein continued.  “We need to deploy comprehensive broadband networks that provide ubiquitous connectivity so the entire country can benefit from wireless broadband.”

The Committee, which includes members from the wireless industry, consumer advocacy groups, and community leaders, will focus on developing specific recommendations on ways in which the FCC can better encourage broadband deployment across in communities across the United States.

Crown’s Simon was named Chairman of the Competitive Access to Broadband Infrastructure Working Group. Dimitroff from the New York State Wireless Association will serve as Chairman of BDAC’s Model Code for Municipalities Working Group. WIA’s Adelstein will be Chairman of the Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.

BDAC will tackle major issues such as the need for reforms to the FCC’s pole attachment rules; identifying unreasonable regulatory barriers to broadband deployment; ways to encourage local governments to adopt deployment-friendly policies; and other reforms within the scope of the FCC’s authority.

According to the FCC, one of the Committee’s first tasks will be drafting a model code covering local franchising, zoning, permitting, and rights-of-way regulations. Many localities often need technical assistance drafting policies that are conducive to broadband deployment. A model code approved by the FCC would empower any city to build a better regulatory environment for deployment, and any provider would have a better case for installing infrastructure.

“The Commission was fortunate to have an excellent and deep pool of applicants to serve on the BDAC,” Chairman Pai said in the announcement.  “The Commission received over 380 applications, resulting in the selection of 29 members for the BDAC—far more than I ever anticipated. In the coming weeks, we expect to select an additional 58 applicants to serve on the BDAC’s working groups. I thank Elizabeth and Kelleigh for agreeing to lead the BDAC, all members for the work they will be doing in the coming months, and all applicants for demonstrating their commitment to fostering better, faster, and cheaper broadband throughout the United States.”

The Committee is scheduled to kick off its work at a meeting April 21.

Pai designated Elizabeth Pierce, Chief Executive Officer of Quintillion Subsea Operations, LLC, and Quintillion Networks, LLC (Quintillion), to serve as Chair of the BDAC, and Kelleigh Cole, Director of the Utah Broadband Outreach Center in the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, to serve as Vice Chair.

In addition, Pai identified five working groups that will assist the BDAC in carrying out its work:

  • Model Code for Municipalities.—Douglas Dimitroff of the New York State Wireless Association will serve as Chair of this working group, and the Honorable Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose, California, will serve as Vice Chair.
  • Model Code for States.—Kelly McGriff of Southern Light will serve as Chair of this working group, and the Honorable Karen Charles Peterson, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable, for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will serve as Vice Cha
  • Competitive Access to Broadband Infrastructure.—Ken Simon of Crown Castle will serve as Chair of this working group, and Brent Skorup of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will serve as Vice Chair.
  • Removing State and Local Regulatory Barriers.—Robert DeBroux of TDS Telecom will serve as Chair of this working group, and Kim Keenan of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council will serve as Vice Chair.
  • Streamlining Federal Siting.—Jonathan Adelstein of the Wireless Infrastructure Association will serve as Chair of this working group, and Valerie Fast Horse of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe will serve as Vice Chair.

The selection of additional members for BDAC working groups remains in progress, and final selections will be announced at a later date.