Government Relations Update October 2019
FCC Issues Order on Broadband Testing Requirements
On October 25, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order on Reconsideration approving new performance testing procedures for certain telecommunications carriers receiving support from the Connect America Fund (CAF). The CAF provides support to unserved communities in rural areas to ensure that they receive access to the same high-quality networks as Americans in urban areas.
Carriers receiving funding now will be required to perform speed and latency tests from customer premises to a remote test server located at or reached by passing through an FCC-designated Internet Exchange Point (IXP). Additionally, carriers will create daily test periods, with a specified number of speed and latency tests during each testing window. Carriers that fail to meet these performance standards will face a loss of support.
FCC Continues Push on 5G
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is continuing to press forward on laying the groundwork for the next generation of wireless networks. The FCC’s 5G FAST Plan explains the Commission’s approach and accomplishments to date. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s strategy focuses on three areas: pushing more spectrum into the marketplace, updating infrastructure policy, and modernizing regulations. While 5G technology is still in development, the FCC is working to ensure that the federal government provides the right policy and regulatory environment to allow for swift and successful adoption of these new networks as they come online.
Key House Committee Leader to Retire
Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) announced that he will not seek re-election. He has served in Congress since 1999, spending years as the chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology before ascending to the position of Chairman of the full Energy and Commerce Committee prior to the change in control of the House this year. Walden currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee.