Watchdog Praises FCC for Voting to Expand Digital Domain and Protect Taxpayers

Watchdog Praises FCC for Voting to Expand Digital Domain and Protect Taxpayers

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2020
Contact: Grace Morgan
(202-855-4380)

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for voting to implement critical measures to protect taxpayers and bridge the digital divide at their February 28 Open Meeting. At the meeting, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his fellow commissioners voted to kickstart a public auction for C-band spectrum critical for 5G deployment. In addition, commission officials voted to relax restrictions on TV white space devices capable of bringing internet to unserved rural areas. The votes mark a continuation of Chairman Pai’s efforts to roll back red tape and regulatory mandates since taking the helm of the FCC in January 2017.

TPA President David Williams commended the FCC for pursuing reform, noting, “since 2017, Chairman Pai’s FCC has been committed to across-the-board reforms that have expanded internet access to Americans without reliable, high-speed internet. The digital divide is rapidly closing, but nearly 20 million rural residents must still make do with lackluster internet access and few provider options due to regulatory hurdles and high deployment costs. The FCC’s votes today will set the stage for fast broadband internet to reach unserved Americans. The auction of the C-band auction will bring in billions of dollars to the United States Treasury making this a win-win for consumers and taxpayers.”

Williams continued: “In order to move forward on 5G deployment, wireless providers will need the FCC’s assurance of access to ‘C-band’ spectrum, which has connectivity features uniquely suitable for the latest and greatest generation of internet standards. Conducting a public auction of spectrum is the most efficient and reliable way of getting bandwidth to the providers and consumers that need it the most, while still ensuring that taxpayers are fairly compensated for the spectrum. The FCC has wisely chosen today to proceed with an expedited auction of ‘C-band’ spectrum, instead of opting for an opaque private ‘sale’ that would rob taxpayers blind and invite years of litigation.”

Williams concluded: “The FCC also deserves kudos for kickstarting TV white spaces deployment by freeing providers from red tape and onerous requirements. Under the broken status-quo, antenna height was not allowed to exceed 250 meters above average terrain resulting in limited connectivity and placement options for white space devices. And, allowable power levels for these devices were capped at just 10 watts, resulting in the short-circuiting of wireless deployment for millions of Americans. Doubling the height allowance and increasing power levels by 60 percent will turbocharge TV white spaces deployment, giving unserved Americans yet another option for internet access. Chairman Pai and his fellow commissioners deserve praise for this powerful one-two punch in expanding access to the digital domain.”