PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The 5G Boost to Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth: FCC Unveils Vital Plan for Deployment

By at 1 March, 2018, 3:49 pm

SBE Council Applauds FCC Plan to Modernize Rules for 5G Deployment

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text of an order that paves the way for the deployment of 5G wireless networks by modernizing the outdated regulatory procedures that apply to wireless infrastructure deployments.  FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr is leading this important initiative and proceeding, and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) president & CEO Karen Kerrigan applauded Commissioner Carr for his vision and the specific steps outlined in the order.

“Moving to a 5G future means more innovation and economic dynamism for America along with quality broadband for all entrepreneurs and communities across America currently lacking access to this critical tool. The ‘5G Ready’ plan unveiled by Commissioner Carr means small businesses and entrepreneurs are one step closer to an exciting future with unlimited opportunities and possibilities,” said Kerrigan.

In remarks before the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) on February 28, Commissioner Carr outlined the key steps that are necessary to move the United States to 5G, which includes freeing up spectrum and smart regulatory changes that will enable the large-scale private investment necessary to bring the promise of first-class wireless networks to entrepreneurs and all Americans.  The details are included in the text of the order released today.

As noted by Commissioner Carr in his remarks at the CTA event, “5G is about more than just faster broadband and lower latency. It is about enabling the next-generation of innovation and entrepreneurship in America. It is about autonomous cars, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, remote surgery and telehealth, public safety and smart city applications, and new competitive broadband offerings, including in rural areas.”

Access to quality broadband is a key 2018 policy priority for SBE Council. Many communities – especially in rural America – still lack broadband, which means people do not have access to the digital economy, and its tools, that enable opportunity.  For entrepreneurs and small businesses, access to broadband is vital.  Therefore, the revitalization of Main Streets, rural communities and urban areas across America hinge upon broadband access, which will bring investment, new business creation, more human capital and new life to many communities that have been left behind.

(See SBE Council’s full agenda for 2018 here.)

According to Kerrigan, the old ways of local permitting and regulation, fee structures and access to public rights of way will have to change markedly, as they simply would be too timely and costly for successful implementation of the many small cells required with 5G.  Permitting and regulations will have to be vastly streamlined, with timeframes accelerated, and government-owned rights of way opened to these nonintrusive 5G cells.

Kerrigan agreed with Commissioner Carr when he described the regulatory process as wasteful and antiquated.  As expressed by the Commissioner in his CTA speech:

“The process is broken. And regulatory incrementalism is not going to fix it. We need a major upgrade to our infrastructure deployment rules.”

Kerrigan said that small businesses and entrepreneurs stand to benefit in many ways from the deployment of and access to 5G networks. As users of enhanced networks, they will benefit from higher speeds, enhanced reliability, innovative technologies made possible by the networks, as well as specialized services. And by taking part in the enhancement and deployment of 5G networks, new opportunities will open up for small businesses. Small businesses overwhelmingly populate the telecommunications sector, with 83.1 percent of employer firms in telecommunications having less than 20 workers and 94.8 percent less than 100 employees. This means small firms will play a key role in the deployment, servicing and revolution of 5G networks.

“Entrepreneurs and small business owners are ready for 5G. Our organization looks forward to supporting and advocating for the smart regulatory approach detailed in today’s order,” Kerrigan concluded.

The FCC is scheduled to vote on the order on March 22.

CONTACT:  Karen Kerrigan, kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org

SBE Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. For nearly 25 years SBE Council has worked to successfully implement a range of policy and private sector initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for startups and small business growth. To learn more, visit SBE Council’s website: www.sbecouncil.org. Follow on Twitter: @SBECouncil

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