FCC’s 5G Scheme Leaves Small ISPs Behind In Broadband Deployment

In Decenternet, General, News, Technology

The Federal Communications Commission’s 5G plan could disrupt net neutrality while making it difficult for small ISPs to set out broadband.

The commission’s upcoming spectrum auction will undergo some rules change as requested by the Big Telecom consisting of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. The appeal is absolutely favorable to them since it will make it easier for these companies to deploy 5G networks across the nation. However, such amendments could greatly impact small ISPs to purchase spectrum that could bridge broadband disparities in rural areas.

During the Obama government, the FCC reserve between 3550MHz and 3700MHz for a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). The federal agency on that period governed that 10MHz licenses will be sold 0ff in respective Census tracts. These are small areas that comprise a number of people from 1,200 to 8,000 each. Contracting spectrum licenses in small areas aim to provide small companies with an opportunity to purchase spectrum and install wireless broadband inadequately serviced places.

Dominance could be the main reason aside from big profit why giant telecom companies are urging the FCC to multiply the range of license areas. The commission’s Chairman Ajit Pai’s recommendation was released last week with an FCC vote slated on the 23rd of this month for the decision.

According to Pai, increasing the coverage of license areas would allow carriers to utilize spectrum for massive 5G mobile networks. However, small ISPs that will make use of the 3.5GHz band to distribute to rural households will hinder them from purchasing spectrum. The proposal would likewise amplify CBRS spectrum license agreement from three to ten years.

In order for small ISPs to acquire an area not bigger than a county, it should be bought from one of the winning bidders.  Pai’s scheme enables licenses “to be consigned and dismantled on the contingent market.” If the size of the license areas will become larger, small carriers will have a hard time purchasing them.

In this event, the FCC will grant 15% bidding credits to small carrier rural providers to assist them in procuring licenses for 5G services. License areas as large as a county will still be unaffordable though, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association
(WISPA) noted. The group represents over 3,000 small ISPs that provide service over wireless companies.

WISPA CEO Claude Aiken wrote, “Throughout this proceeding, WISPA and our allies from a wide range of critically important industries have argued against county-sized licenses. US counties vary greatly in size and character. Hundreds of counties cover thousands of square miles and may contain both densely populated urban areas and less populated suburban and rural areas. Outlying areas in such counties are generally ignored by the larger carriers today (unless subsidies are attached), and such areas will remain ignored under this new proposal.”

Among the major US cable operators, Cox Communications is the only company that crawled into the commission’s initial auction of spectrum offered to the next-gen 5G services. Altice USA, Charter Communications, and Comcast are no-show to the primary auction to think that all three have indicated interest in partaking in the telecom’s current wireless convergence in some way or another.

According to the Charter operator, the company is specifically enthusiastic regarding the rolled out opportunities with the high-band spectrum and discovering its usage to transmit ultrafast, high competent services to consumers whether in small or big rural, suburban or rural communities.

If small ISPs cannot afford to buy spectrum, what will happen to the low-income consumers who cannot afford expensive plans or broadband connection especially in the rural areas? If major telecom or broadband companies will dominate the spectrum market, consumers will have no choice but to settle with slow, blocked, or throttled connection or none at all.

When the repeal of net neutrality took effect in June, the FCC is now hands-off from controlling telecom companies. The agency handed over the responsibility to the Federal Trade Commission to police them and watch over their practices. Although wireless and broadband companies vowed to uphold net neutrality regulations, that was not the case with Verizon when it throttled Santa Clara County fire department’s data during an emergency when they knew all along they should have not.

States cannot be condemned particularly California if they shaped and passed their own net neutrality law. If it weren’t for the FCC’s decision to dismantle the protection and curbed an open internet, none of this would have probably happened.

Decenternet does not engage in paid prioritization, block or even throttle contents because it does not discriminate web traffic but rather treat them equally. It empowers and protects the free speech of its users and does not establish “fast” or “slow” lanes.


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