June 11, 2019
Washington, D.C. – A group of 25 rural broadband advocates joined Connect Americans Now (CAN) in filing comments urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to open a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) that proposes changes to help bridge the digital divide in rural America by facilitating the development and deployment of TV White Spaces (TVWS) technology.
“For most rural Americans, the digital divide persists because of the prohibitive cost of deploying traditional technologies to small customer bases in hard-to-reach areas,” the groups wrote in the comments. “Signals in TVWS frequencies travel further than those in other bands, and adopting this model is far more economical than attempting to extend fiber to small customer bases in remote and hard-to-reach areas.”
The comments support a Petition for Rulemaking filed by Microsoft – a fellow member of CAN – in May.
“The diverse array of organizations filing these comments, all of whom represent various agricultural and rural communities, demonstrates the urgency to bridge the digital divide among leaders throughout the country,” said CAN Executive Director Richard T. Cullen. “Moving forward with an FNPRM offers an opportunity to make noncontroversial regulatory changes that will advance the Commission’s goal of bridging the digital divide.”
The comments come after the Commission took the step of releasing an order that cleared some of the regulatory barriers limiting investments in TVWS technology in March. Opening a new FNPRM and resolving these outstanding regulatory issues would further support the development and deployment of TVWS technology to rural America.
Full List of Signers on the Comments: