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The FCC Seeks Comment on Proposals to Facilitate Broadband Infrastructure Investment

April 24, 2017

As part of Chairman Pai’s Digital Empowerment Agenda, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has initiated two proceedings intended to facilitate wireless network infrastructure deployment and wireline broadband infrastructure deployment, respectively. 

In the first proceeding, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry on April 21, 2017, which seeks comment on measures to remove or reduce regulatory barriers to wireless network infrastructure investment. These measures include expediting state and local review of wireless facility siting applications, including proposals to adopt a “deemed granted” remedy in cases of unreasonable delay by local authorities, and modifying the FCC’s rules and procedures implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). A summary of the FCC’s wireless infrastructure investment proposals is available here.

In the second proceeding, initiated the same day, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Notice of Inquiry, and Request for Comment, which seeks public input on steps to remove federal, state, and local regulatory barriers to wireline broadband infrastructure investment. These steps include: (1) reforming the FCC’s pole attachment rules; (2) expediting the process for local exchange carriers to retire copper networks and provide notice of network changes; (3) streamlining the service discontinuance process; (4) prohibiting state and local laws that inhibit broadband deployment; and (5) preempting state laws governing copper retirement. A summary of the FCC’s wireline infrastructure investment proposals is available here.

Comments in both proceedings will be due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, with reply comments due 60 days after Federal Register publication.