Gary Bolton, Chair of the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA)’s Public Policy Committee, delivered an update on the Association’s policy priorities and progress in the First Quarter update at this year’s regional conference in Detroit.
So far this year, the Fiber Broadband Association has continued to make progress to accelerate our connected future, particularly working with the Federal Communications Commission towards lowering barriers to broadband deployment. Here are some updates on what the Public Policy Committee has been up to:
FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC)
FBA’s President, Heather Gold, and Jennifer Wainwright of Kelley Drye & Warren worked with BDAC’s Working Group to develop a State Model Code. The group adopted several FBA recommendations, including:
- A “Network Support Infrastructure Register,” which would contain information about infrastructure needed for broadband deployment that providers could access.
- Pole attachments “one-touch make-ready” (OTMR) and overlashing without an application.
The FBA has advocated for making the pole attachment process less onerous, saving time and money for fiber deployers while ensuring safety and service continuity for existing operators. In support of this goal:
- FBA filed comments, shaped by feedback from various members, to the FCC supporting the ability of existing attachers to overlash without filing an application.
- FBA further urged the adoption of a series of OTMR policies to facilitate attachments.
Connect America Fund (CAF) Reverse Auction
The first deadline was in March for companies interested in bidding on up to $1.98 billion to offer voice and broadband services to fixed locations in unserved high-cost areas. The FCC will use a multi-round, descending clock “reverse auction” process to select the winning bidders. Service providers seeking a share of this support must participate in the reverse auction to secure support for the specific areas where they propose to deploy voice and broadband service.
FBA held a well-attended webinar in which FCC staff — Chelsea Fallon, Director, Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force and Kirk Burgee, Deputy Director, Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force — discussed the requirements for participating in the CAF reverse auction, which will begin this July.
Municipal Fiber Builds
“Finally,” Bolton wrote, “FBA continues to weigh-in to oppose state legislation that will restrict builds by municipalities. This has been a constant fight, and we applaud the work of many of our members and fellow associations that are engaged with us.”
Bolton and the rest of the Public Policy Committee are always hard at work on strategic advocacy to help accelerate fiber network deployment. Fiber Broadband Association members are always welcome to join in on that good work.