Press Release Spectrum Reform

Harold Feld to Testify Before Senate Commerce Committee On 5G Deployment

January 21, 2020 , , , , , , ,

Public Knowledge Senior Vice President Harold Feld will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Wednesday, January 22 at 10:00 a.m. His testimony in the hearing on “The 5G Workforce and Obstacles To Broadband Deployment” will urge Congress to balance the wireless industry’s goals with the public interest to maintain America’s wireless leadership while equally distributing the benefits of 5G to all Americans. 

The testimony will also highlight several areas where the Congress should act to preserve the necessary balance and resist the efforts of wireless networks to push the panic button to gain unwarranted — and ultimately detrimental — concessions in the “race to 5G.” As the testimony explains, what is important is getting the policy balance right — not adopting wrong policies as quickly as possible.

The following is an excerpt from the testimony:

“America has led the world in wireless technology and innovation for over three decades. The secret to our success has been our ability to strike the right balance among the elements that create our dynamic and innovative wireless ecosystem. While the FCC makes the policy choices in the first instance, it does so subject to the balance struck by Congress.

“Maintaining this balance is critical to our continued leadership in wireless. We do not pursue a ‘flavor of the month’ or crisis management approach. Our spectrum policy depends on a combination of innovation and reliability that recognizes the importance of all stakeholders throughout the supply chain. While no one should take this leadership for granted, it is a testament to the importance of maintaining a steady and balanced spectrum policy.

“Unsurprisingly, stakeholders routinely emphasize the importance of their contribution and push the FCC and Congress to put a thumb on the scale to favor their specific needs. While adopting new innovations such as incentive auctions, Congress resisted the urging of wireless networks to radically preempt states or to eliminate allocations for unlicensed spectrum. As a consequence, U.S. leadership in wireless remained intact.

“As we confront the challenges to 5G deployment going forward, Congress should look at the ‘5G race’ and predictions of doom with a jaundiced eye. Globally, the demand for new mobile services is driving rapid deployment of 5G without the need for Congress or the FCC to alter the balanced policies that have served us so well over the last three decades. While framing deployment of 5G as a ‘race’ with other nations is a potentially useful metaphor to emphasize the importance of 5G as an area of policy, we should not confuse this with a literal race to see who can deploy the greatest coverage most quickly.

“Congress must take necessary steps to ensure the timely deployment of 5G to all Americans. But these steps should reflect the policy of careful balance that has served us so successfully for the last three decades. By ignoring the hype and fear-mongering, Congress can address the genuine obstacles to 5G deployment without leaving poorer communities in rural or urban America behind.”

You may view the testimony here.