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Tag Archives: Brendan Carr

FCC Commissioner Carr Has Concern for Rural Communities, Unconnected Americans

Last week, the Treasury Department released final rules that govern the expenditure of $350 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, according to a statement from the office of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. It said the Biden administration’s new rules identify the types of broadband infrastructure and other projects that state, local and Tribal governments can spend those dollars on. With respect to funding for broadband projects, the administration’s rules green-light spending to overbuild existing, high-speed networks in communities that already have fast internet service, rather than directing those dollars to the rural and other communities that lack access to any broadband service today, the statement reads. This decision deviates from the Treasury Department’s initial proposal, it said, and it risks deepening the digital divide in this country. It will be up to states to correct this error, the statement said.

“The Treasury Department’s rules governing the expenditure of $350 billion in ARPA funds highlights the administration’s misplaced priorities and misguided approach to infrastructure,” Carr said. “Rather than directing those dollars to the rural and other communities without any internet infrastructure today, the administration gives the green light for recipients to spend those funds on overbuilding existing, high-speed networks in communities that already have multiple broadband providers. This would only deepen the digital divide in this country.”

Carr said that it makes no sense for the Biden administration to treat parts of the United States that already have access to broadband services at speeds nearing 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up the exact same as communities that have nothing today.

“It gets worse,” Carr said. “The Treasury rules allow these billions of dollars to be spent based on bad data. It does this by authorizing recipients to determine whether an area lacks access to high-speed Internet service by relying on informal interviews and reports — however inaccurate those may be — rather than the broadband maps that the federal government has been funding and standing up. The problems with Treasury’s broadband rules compound from there.

According to Carr, it is not too late to correct course.

“The state, local and Tribal governments that receive ARPA funding will have the power to direct these dollars to those communities that have been left behind, rather than those that already benefit from high-speed internet services today,” he said. “I hope they do so, or these billions of dollars in infrastructure funds will only deepen the digital divide.”

Commissioner Brendan Carr Holds Official Meeting with Taiwan Communications Regulators

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr held an official, virtual meeting with Commissioner Yeali S. Sun of the Republic of China’s (Taiwan’s) National Communications Commission (NCC) and Jeff Y. J. Liu, director-general of the Department of Archives, Information Management and Telecommunications, for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting took place on Jan. 12. Their discussion covered the two countries’ approaches to 5G wireless communications and network security threats, as well as Carr’s view that international telecom bodies should officially recognize Taiwan’s leading regulatory work, according to a statement from Carr’s office.

“I greatly appreciated the warm dialogue and opportunity to hold an official, virtual meeting with my regulatory counterparts in Taiwan,” Carr said. “As two vibrant democracies, our countries are vital economic and national security partners. We also share a core set of values that inform our regulatory approaches to everything from next-gen networks to network security. Perhaps the best example of this is our mutual commitment to advancing robust, secure, and trustworthy 5G networks that will help grow our economies.”

Carr said that he enjoyed learning from Commissioner Sun about the steps she and her colleagues are taking to accelerate country-wide 5G networks while promoting competition among trusted companies across the 5G ecosystem.

“It is clear to me that international telecom governing bodies would benefit greatly from Taiwan’s regulatory expertise and officially recognizing the country within their organizations, particularly as global standards-setting processes confront the sophisticated security threats that software-based networks now present, an issue where Taiwan has developed world-class expertise,” Carr said. “Unfortunately, too many organizations have capitulated to Beijing’s demands that they exclude Taiwan from their official work. This not only deprives those bodies of Taiwan’s expertise, but weakens our ability to address the network and cybersecurity threats that free countries face today.”

The FCC commissioner said he looks forward to continuing conversations with NCC leaders, including Commissioner Sun, and to further deepening the important relationships he mentioned.

Congressman, FCC Commissioner Tour Texas Communications Tower Site

U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr toured a communications tower site in Huffman, Texas, on Dec. 17, 2021, in a visit facilitated by representatives of NATE and of Enertech, a company advised by former NATE chairman Jim Tracy, according to NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association.

“Congressman Crenshaw is a member of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he has championed important communications and workforce development legislation,” a statement from NATE reads. “The tour was designed to highlight the prominent role that telecommunications technicians and wireless infrastructure are playing in the country’s efforts to provide broadband coverage to rural, unserved and underserved communities. The event also provided a valuable platform to discuss the congressman’s workforce priorities with his constituents and the telecommunications industry. Congressman Crenshaw believes that the United States. needs ‘to promote vocational training and apprenticeship programs that give workers the skills that industries actually need.’”

During the tour, NATE said, Crenshaw and Carr surveyed the multicarrier tenent network equipment installed on the tower. It said that NATE and Entertech representatives discussed the work conducted in building, maintaining and deploying communications tower sites and related wireless infrastructure. Crenshaw put on a harness and personal protective equipment of the type technicians use to carry out their jobs in a safe and efficient manner, NATE said.

“Given the increased use of unmanned aircraft vehicles for tower inspections, participants also viewed a drone flight demonstration and heard from NATE members about the opportunities these technologies provide for contractors and tower technicians,” the NATE statement reads. “Participants also shared with the congressman and commissioner some of the challenges facing the industry as the Federal Aviation Administration continues to work on regulations impacting commercial drone usage.”

Crenshaw said that the House committee on which he serves often talks about delivering broadband to rural communities, but he said its members rarely experience what it takes to do it.

“It was exciting to see the work the men and women in the telecom industry do on communications towers that ensures Texans have access to high-speed internet and wireless services,” Crenshaw said. “It is clear that America’s tower climbers and technicians have been working on the front lines of broadband deployment, and I am proud to have visited with them and learned more about this critical industry.”

Carr said he has taken part in dozens of tower visits and climbs. He said that every time, he learns something new from the men and women who build, maintain and service the critical communications facilities.

“These visits are critical for policy makers to ensure they understand the important role America’s tower techs play in delivering ubiquitous high-speed Internet and communications services,” he said.

NATE Chairman Jimmy Miller, who also is president of MillerCo, said that Crenshaw has championed a number of the tower industry’s workforce priorities. With the tower visit, Miller said, Crenshaw experienced first-hand what contractors and technicians face on a daily basis.

“It is clear that the congressman has an appreciation for the role that NATE members play in expanding broadband to communities in his district,” Miller said.

Eric Chase, president and CEO of Enertech Holdings, said that as a communications infrastructure contractor, he is proud of the work contractors do to expand broadband services to their communities.

“It is great to see our local congressman is working to support our industry,” Chase said. “I am pleased to know that he has a deeper understanding and appreciation of the work we do and the role we play in expanding broadband to every community in his district.”

Legacy Telecommunications has posted to YouTube a video highlighting Crenshaw and Carr’s tower site tour and climbing experience that can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lliV66HaE0. Legacy is an Enertech company headed by Jim Tracy. NATE has placed a collection of photos from the tour on its InstagramTwitter and Facebook pages.

AT&T, Verizon Reject 5G Rollout Delay Requested by Biden Administration Officials

By Don Bishop

Referring to what they said would be an unprecedented and unwarranted circumvention of due process if they should agree to a request by Biden administration officials to delay their rollout of 5G wireless service on C-band radio frequencies, the heads of AT&T and Verizon rejected the request that Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation, and the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Steve Dickson, sent to them on Dec. 31, 2021.

Replying in a letter on Jan. 2, John Stankey, CEO of AT&T, and Hans Vestberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications, said that the framework Buttigieg and Dickson proposed for the delay asks that AT&T and Verizon agree to transfer oversight of their multibillion-dollar investment in 50 unnamed metropolitan areas representing the lion’s share of the U.S. population to the FAA for an undetermined number of months or years.

“Even worse, the proposal is directed to only two companies, regardless of the terms of licenses auctioned and granted, and to the exception of every other company and industry within the  purview of the FCC,” the letter reads. “Agreeing to your proposal would not only be an unprecedented and unwarranted circumvention of the due process and checks and balances carefully crafted in the structure of our democracy, but an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks that are every bit as essential to our country’s economic vitality, public safety and national interests as the airline industry.”

However, in the spirit of cooperation, the heads of the two companies wrote, their companies would volunteer to alter their use of the C-Band spectrum a six-month period, unless they and the FAA determine that the voluntary limits should be relaxed sooner.

“Specifically, for six months, until July 5, 2022, we will adopt the same C-Band radio exclusion zones that are already in use in France, with slight adaptation to reflect the modest technical differences in how C-band is being deployed in the two countries,” the letter reads. “That approach — which is one of the most conservative in the world — would include extensive exclusion zones around the runways at certain airports. The effect would be to further reduce C-band signal levels by at least 10 times on the runway or during the last mile of final approach and the first mile after takeoff. This is over and above the protections we already committed to put in place around airports that were detailed in the letter to the FCC on  Nov. 24th, 2021 — protections that the FCC referred to as among ‘the most comprehensive efforts in the world to safeguard aviation technologies.’ As you know, U.S. aircraft currently fly in and out of France every day with thousands of U.S. passengers and with the full approval of the FAA. As a result, France provides a real-world example of an operating environment where 5G and aviation safety already co-exist. The laws of physics are the same in the United States and France. If U.S. airlines are permitted to operate flights every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States.”

Meanwhile, in a tweet sent on Jan 1. that included a copy of a letter he sent to Buttigieg, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said that nearly 40 countries have turned on 5G wireless communications service on C-band spectrum, yet the Biden administration is working to needlessly delay C-band operations in the United States. He said that step only would undermine America’s 5G leadership and the mid-band work accomplished over the past few years — mid-band refers to the C-band radio-frequency spectrum.

“The Biden administration is not asking for a two-week delay; they’re demanding an indefinite halt in what appears to be every major market,” Carr said. “The Department of Transportation’s irregular, eleventh-hour tactics — 660 days after the FCC resolved these issues — do not reflect competent decision-making, but gamesmanship. It is incorrect to say that there are unresolved safety concerns that would benefit from additional time. The expert agency charged by Congress with making precisely these types of determinations (the FCC), resolved them years ago in a thorough, 258-page decisional document.”

Carr said that based on expert engineering analysis, the FCC included what he called a massive guard band to protect aviation that was two times as large as the one certain aviation advocates originally asked for. In addition, he said it would be twice as large as even that conservatively sized guard band, because wireless carriers operate their systems are in the lower portion of the frequency band.

“The FCC’s decision is not just grounded in science, engineering, and facts, it is backed by the aviation industry’s own, real-world experiences flying safely every day into nearly 40 countries that have live C-Band operations today,” Carr said.

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Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.

 

Carr Welcomes Treasury Department’s Sanctions on DJI Over Surveillance Concerns

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who has spoken of his concern about national security matters involving U.S. wireless network operators using equipment manufactured by Chinese companies, said that he supports a step taken by the U.S. Treasury Department against Chines drone manufacturer DJI.

The decision by the Treasury Department announced on Dec. 16 to add DJI to its investment blacklist is welcome news, the commissioner said.

“Treasury’s determination that DJI is actively supporting the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to surveil and repress religious minorities in China only adds urgency to my call for national security agencies to provide their views on adding DJI to the FCC’s Covered List.”

A statement released by Carr’s office at the FCC said that the Department of Treasury identified DJI as part of the Chinese military-industrial complex due to the company’s role in tracking and surveilling religious minorities in China, particularly the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.  In October, Carr called for a review of DJI based on documented national security concerns and the company’s role in supporting Uyghur genocide and other serious human rights abuses.