The Fiber to the Home Council North America has some suggestions for the country's newly elected leaders. While promising it has a few words of wisdom to share later with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), states, and local communities as well, the FTTH Council used a post on Medium.com last week to list ways that the White House and Congress can keep the momentum rolling behind fiber to the home.
The Council notes that optical access network connections in North America had reached record numbers in the past three years. FTTH enjoyed year-on-year growth of 16% in 2016, with 4.2 million homes passed, according to the post. Meanwhile, fiber-optic networks also will be necessary to connect small cell sites for 5G wireless, smart cities, and Internet of Things support, the Council adds.
Government leaders in Washington can help ensure this year that fiber continues to support broadband access and the other applications enumerated above in three ways, the Council suggests.
- Create policies that streamline fiber deployments. The FCC has instituted rules designed to accelerate access to right of way and connectivity to poles, ducts, and conduit at reasonable and non-discriminatory prices, the Council notes. However, obstacles remain, including in enforcing these rules, that can slow deployment preparations. Congress (and state legislatures) could codify permitting timelines and ensuring that fair and reasonable cost-based nondiscriminatory charges apply. Congress also could give the FCC clear authority to impose fines when its requirements are not followed. And the "dig once" legislation that stalled in the last Congress should be resurrected, the Council urges.
- And take these policies to heart itself. The FTTH Council notes that service providers face some of the most onerous permitting gauntlets when they attempt to cross federal lands.
- Make it easier to track and access federal funding opportunities. The government should make information on federal funding sources centralized and inventoried. Service providers also should have access to an easy-to-use road map of all federal funding resources, the Council states.
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