FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has established what he is calling the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) aimed at bridging the digital divide and accelerating the deployment of high-speed broadband services.
“The BDAC’s mission will be to identify regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment and to make recommendations to the commission on reducing and/or removing them,” Pai said in a statement.
After announcing the BDAC early today, the commission followed up later today with a public notice outlining procedures for nominating people to serve on the BDAC. Among others, the notice states that the commission is interested in receiving nominations and expressions of interest from “rural Internet service providers that use licensed or unlicensed spectrum, fiber optics, copper wires, or coaxial cables, or any other means to offer high-speed broadband service.”
The FCC also seeks the participation of other types of service providers, as well as representatives of state and local regulators and representatives of consumers and community organizations, according to the public notice. Members must be willing to commit to a two-year term of service and meet other obligations described in the public notice. Nominations are due February 15.
Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee
One of the BDAC’s first tasks will be to draft a model code for broadband deployment that will address topics such as local franchising, zoning, permitting and rights-of-way regulations with the goal of eliminating or reducing red tape that can complicate deployments.
“Our hope is that with a model code approved by the FCC, one that any city could use as a template, the case for broadband deployment would be much easier, especially for communities that seek to proactively encourage it,” Pai said in his statement.
If this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because several other entities already have undertaken aspects of this task. These entities include but are not necessarily limited to:
Hopefully the BDAC will avoid re-inventing the wheel by reviewing these and other existing studies as part of the process of developing the model code.
Also on tap for the BDAC will be addressing further reforms to the FCC’s pole attachment rules; identifying unreasonable regulatory barriers to broadband deployment and ways to encourage local governments to adopt deployment-friendly policies; and other reforms within the scope of the commission’s authority, according to a press release about the BDAC issued today.