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TPA Leads Coalition Advocating for Television White Space Technology



Grace Morgan on 2018-12-04 09:26:00

Image result for federal communications commission
December 4, 2018

Chairman Ajit Pai      
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
                                                
Commissioner Michael O’Rielly          
Federal Communications Commission                     
445 12th Street, SW                                              
Washington, D.C. 20554                                        

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW                                             
Washington, D.C. 20554         
                
Commissioner Brendan Carr
Federal Communications Commission                    
445 12th Street, SW 
Washington, D.C. 20554          
                           

Re: Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions (GN Docket No. 12-268); Amendment of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules for Unlicensed Operations in the Television Bands, Repurposed 600 MHz Band, 600 MHz Guard Bands and Duplex Gap, and Chanel 37 (ET Docket No. 14-165); Amendment of Parts 15, 73 and 74 of the Commission’s Rules to Provide for the Preservation of One Vacant Channel in the UHF Television Band for Use by White Spaces Devices and Wireless Microphones (MB Docket No. 15-146); Amendment of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules for Unlicensed White Space Devices (ET Docket No. 16-56) 

 

Dear Chairman Pai, Commissioner O’Rielly, Commissioner Rosenworcel, and Commissioner Carr: 

We write to you to encourage the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt the right technical rules and make adequate spectrum available as soon as possible for white space broadband use. This step is urgently needed to help address the digital divide in the United States. Television White Space (TVWS) technology can help bring broadband access to underserved rural areas, helping to give substantially more Americans access to the internet. This can happen if the FCC adopts appropriate technical rules and makes the necessary spectrum available for the use of white spaces for broadband.  

Rural Americans are struggling in terms of access to broadband. In fact, “[j]ust 3 percent of people in urban areas lack access to broadband, but in rural areas, 35 percent of people have no access. That's about 22 million Americans.”[1]These 22 million Americans have significant challenges in accessing online educational opportunities, benefiting from telemedicine, and leveraging broadband for agriculture. Access to reliable and fast broadband has become a necessity. Allowing rural Americans to continue to face major obstacles when trying to access reliable broadband risks perpetuating the digital divide in the United States. That would have negative repercussions for the entire country, not just rural areas.  

TVWS technology can help address the gap in broadband access facing rural Americans. Microsoft’s Rural Airband Initiative, for example, hopes to use TVWS technology to help 2 million Americans in rural parts of the country access the internet by 2022.[2]Recent partnerships are helping to bring broadband through TVWS technology to rural communities in Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New York, South Dakota, and Washington.[3]The successful implementation of TVWS technology will open the door to other technology companies to compete to provide this service to rural areas. Along with shrinking the rural broadband divide, TVWS can help promote competition in the technology sector, providing consumers with more choice and a reliable way to access the internet.

In order for TVWS to achieve full effectiveness, appropriate technical rules must be in place and adequate spectrum needs to be made available for white space broadband. The FCC has a role to play in helping to bring broadband to rural America by making sure that sufficient spectrum is available for TVWS technology. The opportunity for the FCC to help an innovative form of technology reach more consumers, and open the playing field for more tech companies to innovate in this space exists right now. If the right technical rules are adopted and sufficient spectrum for TVWS is made available by the FCC, economic growth, education, and telemedicine in rural areas can be transformed for the better, benefiting consumers directly in these key areas. In addition, the FCC must take the necessary steps to propose additional rules that would enable connected school buses and tractors as well as advancing internet of things (IoT) opportunities such as precision agriculture. The right regulatory framework can be harnessed to provide an onramp to the internet that is lacking in so many areas of the United States. 

We urge the FCC to act soon to adopt the right technical rules and make adequate spectrum available for white space broadband.  The FCC should also propose new rules to enable the full array of broadband opportunities. This action will help make TVWS technology more accessible to more Americans. The rural digital divide can be narrowed by a combination of informed policymaking and cutting edge technology. The FCC should act swiftly to help make this proposed combination a reality. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

American Commitment

American Conservative Union

American Consumer Institute

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Center for Individual Freedom

Citizens Against Government Waste

Heritage Action for America

Institute for Liberty

Let Freedom Ring

Market Institute

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council



[1]  “The digital divide between rural and urban America's access to internet,” CBS News, August 4, 2017,  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rural-areas-internet-access-dawsonville-georgia/.

[2]  “Microsoft wants to bring 2 million rural Americans online by 2022,” The Washington Post, July 11, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/07/11/microsoft-wants-to-bring-2-million-americans-online-by-2022/?utm_term=.95b943bdc5ab.

[3]“RTO Wireless and Microsoft announce agreement to deliver broadband internet to rural communities in New York and Maine,” July 24, 2018, https://news.microsoft.com/2018/07/24/rto-wireless-and-microsoft-announce-agreement-to-deliver-broadband-internet-to-rural-communities-in-new-york-and-maine/; “Network Business Systems and Microsoft announce agreement to deliver broadband internet to rural communities in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota,” September 13, 2018, https://news.microsoft.com/2018/09/13/network-business-systems-and-microsoft-announce-agreement-to-deliver-broadband-internet-to-rural-communities-in-illinois-iowa-and-south-dakota/.   


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