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In Regard to Wireless Deployments, City Leaders Offer Advice to Strengthen Local Government Authority

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Screenshot of Thomas Robinson, CEO of CBG Communications

September 15, 2020 — Don’t talk to Portland, Oregon, about what it’s like to challenge the federal government.

They’ve also been a pioneer of taking on the Federal Communication Commission in advocating for local governments in the deployment of small cell technology.

The city sued the FCC over its 2018 wireless facilities order. In August 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals upheld major portions of that ruling.

See “Ninth Circuit Upholds FCC’s Small Cell Deployment Order Designed to Promote 5G,” Broadband Breakfast, August 12, 2020.

Representatives from Portland joined with a city official from Lincoln, Nebraska, at the conference of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors on September 3, 2020.

The two cities, which AT&T claimed charged exorbitant fees that kept the telecom giant from installing wireless technology, spoke on a panel about rewriting local telecom policies.

“Legal changes in wireless have impacted local authority in zoning and rights of way regulations,” said Maja Haium, deputy city attorney for the city of Portland.

Portland wants and needs local authority over deployment of wireless technologies

Haium detailed how the city of Portland set itself up for success to maintain local authority over the deployment of wireless technology.

“Almost all downtown poles are owned by the city,” said Haium.

“Portland, Oregon enjoys strong home rule authority,” detailed Haium, saying the city benefits from having no state franchising or wireless laws to navigate or reckon with.

Haium, who has worked on efforts to repeal preemptive state statutes that benefit incumbent carriers and led efforts to move several Oregon cities from individually-negotiated franchises to a right-of-way ordinance that applies to all utilities in the right of way, said that Portland benefits from an engaged and united city council.

The council understands the issues at hand, and said, and is willing to dedicate time and resources to the topic and participate in all aspects of rulemaking and litigation.

Hauim said cities could use advance in local zoning and right of way battles with carriers.

“When dealing with installing wireless infrastructure on private property, don’t assume applicants understand shot clocks,” said Haium, adding that she believes it is crucial to have clear application checklists, current photos and videos of facilities and drawings made to scale.

“Early and repeated coordination among internal bureaus, advisory boards, wireless carriers, and electric utilities is necessary,” said reminded.

Lincoln, Nebraska, created a streamlined process for building wireless facilities

David Young, fiber infrastructure and right of way manager for the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, said his city had created a streamlined process for carriers interested in building in the community.

“Carriers are looking for communities that are flexible,” said Young, saying that streamlining processes and making procedures consistent is crucial.

Young referred audiences to Lincoln’s website, which clearly details standardized procedures for accessing permits, right of way agreements, and more, within the city.

Thomas Robinson, president and CEO of CBG Communications, detailed trends in local telecom policy and what to look out for going forward.

One nationwide trend in local policy he noted to watch for are One-Touch Make Ready laws, or the various statutes and local ordinances passed by local governments and utilities in the United States, which require the owners of utility poles to allow a single construction crew to make changes to multiple utility wires.

“There are twenty states that have their own OTMR laws and have opted out of the federal OTMR,” said Robinson, “Vermont just started putting its OTMR laws into place in an effort to speed deployment.”

Robinson noted that trends in wireless telecom policy at the state and federal level continue to change and work to limit local authority.

“Stay tuned,” warned Robinson, “the landscape is likely to change again.”

Expert Opinion

Leo Matysine: The Impact of C-Band on Advancements in Mobile and Fixed Broadband

As technology is more advanced and connected to everything, the need for higher capacity networks will continue to grow exponentially.

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The Author of this Expert Opinion is Leo Matysine, Co-Founder of MatSing

When consumers think of 5G, often their minds automatically think mobile connectivity. The official C-Band launch this past January brought the idea of increased spectrum connectivity into the limelight. While this had been something anticipated by the telecommunications industry for years, finally seeing it come to fruition allowed the mainstream media to become invested in the benefits this 5G spectrum could offer.

When 5G was first introduced five years ago, it caught the attention of many who soon learned the challenge in speedy implementation due to strict infrastructure requirements. The introduction of C-Band provides a solution, enabling 5G upgrades while simultaneously addressing the coverage and capacity needs.

This heightened implementation will allow users to start seeing improvements across the board, but not just in the form of mobile connection. Outside of the benefits for mobile carriers, the advancements C-Band provides will enter in a new era for fixed broadband access especially in rural communities.

The need for fixed broadband was magnified during the pandemic as users need for internet access from home drastically increased. This exposed the digital divide rural communities are facing, causing it to gain traction with the White House. As a result, a new infrastructure bill aimed at improving the underlying network infrastructures was developed as fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-premise in rural settings have proven to be too expensive and impractical for wide implementation.

C-Band provides an alternative option allowing for wireless fixed broadband access through antennas. The mid-band frequency spectrum (1GHz to 6GHz) can provide rural users, both businesses and households, with options in providers and services they’ve been unable to experience previously.

C-Band also allows for higher speed and capacity

On top of the fixed broadband perspective where C-Band frequency spectrums are enabling rural connectivity, it allows for higher speed and capacity. The spectrums being utilized in the past while generating mobile coverage, had disadvantages in capacity and experience.

The mmWave spectrum (24GHz +) can transmit data at hyper speeds but only from limited distances, requiring line-of-site installations, whereas sub-1GHz offers the opposite. The mid-band spectrum C-Band falls under acts as a perfect balance, transmitting data at high speeds and capacities while providing the coverage needed to cover vast areas. Deployed with lens antenna technology, the additional capacity can be enabled with fewer antenna locations as compared to other antenna types, leading to financial advantages.

From a more localized vantage point, C-Band is now being integrated into marquee venues and stadiums. Within these smaller spaces, improved bandwidth and superior performance is essential given the concentrated number of users seeking connection and the inherent need for more content sharing. In order to support the mobile experience fans now expect from these venues, carriers and venue owners have turned to C-Band deployments.

Deployed atop the 4G/LTE foundation, the C-Band antenna builds off this functionality while adding the increased speed and capacity accustomed to the mid-band spectrum. Several venues will see increased results with these implementations allowing fans to experience a more reliable and overall better experience at their game days or concerts in the upcoming months.

Looking ahead, these milestones only mark the beginning of where C-Band implementation will take the telecommunications industry. As technology continues to become more advanced and connected to everyone and everything, the need for higher capacity networks will continue to grow exponentially.

Leo Matysine is the Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of company MatSing, the worlds leading manufacturer of large size, light weight RF lenses. MatSing introduces a new age of antenna design for the Telecommunications industry. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Digital Inclusion

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Emphasizes 100 Percent Broadband Adoption

‘It’s about making sure wireless connections are available in 100 percent of rural America,’ said the chairwoman.

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Photo of Kelley Dunne, CEO of AmeriCrew, leading panel on workforce issues at the Rural Wireless Infrastructure Summit by Drew Clark

PARK CITY, Utah, June 28, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission is making progress towards bringing “affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to 100 percent of the country,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said at the Rural Wireless Infrastructure Summit here on Tuesday.

Rosenworcel pointed to the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act now being deployed across the country, with a particular focus on unconnected rural and tribal areas.

Although the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will take the lead with these funds, the FCC’s new broadband coverage maps will be important in implementing state digital equity plans.

In her remarks, Rosenworcel also discussed how the upcoming 2.5 GigaHertz spectrum auction will involve licensing spectrum primarily to rural areas.

At the July FCC open meeting, said Rosenworcel, the agency is scheduled to establish a new program to help enhance wireless competition. It is called the Enhanced Competition Incentive Program.

The program aims to build incentives for existing carriers to build opportunities for smaller carriers and tribal nations through leasing or partitioning spectrum. Existing carriers will be rewarded with longer license terms, extensions on build-out obligations, and more flexibility in construction requirements.

“It’s about making sure wireless connections are available in 100 percent of rural America,” she said.

She also indicated her commitment to work with Congress to fund the FCC’s “rip and replace” program to reimburse many rural operators’ transitions from Chinese-manufactured telecommunications equipment. She also touted the role that open radio access networks can plan in more secure telecommunications infrastructure.

In other news at the conference, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr addressed the role of funding broadband operations in rural America, the challenges of workforce training, and ensuring that rural carriers have access to high-cost universal service support.

In a session moderated by AmeriCrew CEO Kelley Dunne, panelists from the U.S. Labor Department, the Wireless Infrastructure Association and Texas A&M Extension Education Services addressed the need to offer a vocational career path for individuals for whom a four-year degree may not be the right choice. AmeriCrew helps U.S. military veterans obtain careers in building fiber, wireless and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark contributed to this report.

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5G

5G Will Help Enhance Environment Protection and Sustainability, Conference Hears

The technology has already been used by companies to monitor and make more efficient systems to reduce emissions.

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Photo of Bourhan Yassin, CEO of Rainforest Connection

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2022 – Because of its facilitation of real-time monitoring and more efficient use of systems, 5G technology will help tackle climate change and beef up environmental sustainability, an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation event heard Tuesday.

5G technology’s ubiquitous connectivity and lower latency enables climate technology that decarbonizes manufacturing plants, enables rainforest monitoring, and limits greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

5G also enables real-time traffic control and monitoring that can help minimize carbon footprint, said John Hunter from T-Mobile, which has a large 5G network thanks in part to its merger with Sprint.

Finnish 5G equipment supplier Nokia has invested in smart manufacturing relying on the speed of 5G in its plants, which it said has resulted in a 10 to 20 percent carbon dioxide reduction and a 30 percent productivity improvement with 50 percent reduction in product defects.

Non-profit tech startup Rainforest Connection has used 5G technology to implant sensitive microphones into endangered rainforests in over 22 countries around the world. These microphones pick up on sounds in the forest and transmit them in real time to personnel on the ground.

These highly sensitive machines are camouflaged in trees and can pick up sounds of gunfire from poaching and chainsaws from illegal logging activity from miles away. The technology has proven to be significant in rainforest conservation and will enable researchers and scientists to find innovative solutions to help endangered species as they study the audio.

“By being able to integrate technologies such as 5G, we can accelerate that process… to achieve the mission [of mitigating climate change effects] sooner than we expected,” said Rainforest Connection CEO Bourhan Yassin.

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