Dear Chairman Pai, Commissioner O’Rielly, Commissioner Rosenworcel, Commissioner Carr, and Commissioner Starks,
The undersigned organizations, representing millions of taxpayers, write to you in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) notice of proposed rulemaking (NRPM) published in the April 3, 2020 Federal Register, “to provide additional opportunities for unlicensed white space devices operating in the broadcast television bands (TV Bands) to deliver wireless broadband services in rural areas and applications associated with the Internet of Things (IOT).”1
The impact COVID-19 has had in the United States is a reminder of the importance of broadband access. Schools are moving online, telemedicine has grown in importance, and video meetings are keeping family and friends connected during a time of quarantine and social distancing. Adoption of the final rules will make TVWS part of the solution and improve the country’s resiliency in times of crisis by bringing more Americans online.
The proposed rule will increase and improve broadband access, particularly in rural areas, by updating how TVWS can be utilized. The proposal would allow “higher transmission power and higher antennas for fixed white space devices in rural areas,”2 and provide for narrowband IOT applications like precision agriculture and connected vehicles, including school buses and tractors, all of which are important to closing the digital divide. Approximately 30 million Americans cannot access broadband, and only 65 percent of Americans in rural areas can access reliable and fast internet service.3
Increasingly, daily life requires reliable internet access, including paying bills, buying goods and services, completing homework assignments, and telehealth. The proposed TVWS rule is a leap forward for those whose lives will be improved by this technology, and we urge its adoption before the end of 2020. By doing so, the FCC will help bring dependable broadband to more Americans, particularly in rural areas.
Thomas Schatz Steve Pociask
Citizens Against Government Waste The American Consumer Institute
Sarah Anderson Phil Kerpen
Director of Policy President
FreedomWorks American Commitment
Tom Struble Curt Levey
Technology & Innovation Policy Manager President
R Street Institute The Committee for Justice
David Williams Zach Graves
President Head of Policy
Taxpayers Protection Alliance Lincoln Networks
Karen Kerrigan Bartlett Cleland
President and CEO Executive Director
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council Innovation Economy Institute
Wayne T. Brough, Ph.D.
Innovation Defense Foundation