PCIA Endorses Rubio Bill to Expedite Deployment of Wireless Infrastructure on Federal Lands and Properties

Adelstein: Bill Would Tap Fed Lands to Bring Mobile Data to Underserved Americans

Alexandria, Virginia, June 18, 2015 – The head of America’s wireless infrastructure association today commended Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) for introducing legislation aimed at spurring economic growth and bringing next-generation mobile data to underserved American consumers and businesses by expediting the deployment of wireless infrastructure on Federal government lands and properties. 

Rubio’s Wireless Innovation Act of 2015, co-sponsored by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), would improve wireless broadband connectivity by ensuring that Federal properties be appropriately utilized for broadband infrastructure deployment and by allocating additional spectrum for broadband use.

“Today, by encouraging the careful deployment of wireless infrastructure on Federal lands, Senator Rubio has taken a crucial step toward ensuring that all Americans have equal and reliable access to the mobile data that’s transforming our economy and society,” said Jonathan Adelstein, the President and CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association. 

“Nearly a third of America’s landmass and thousands of buildings are owned or controlled by the Federal government.  Senator Rubio’s bill seeks to ensure Federal resources are efficiently tapped to bridge the digital divide and bring broadband services to Americans living in hard-to-serve rural areas, as well as the dense urban locales home to Federal buildings – which would spark jobs and economic growth,” Adelstein said.

Importantly, the bill would improve wireless service for members of the armed services, as U.S. military bases fit within the definition of Federal lands and stand to benefit from the clarifications the bill provides. 

“Our soldiers’ and their families’ smartphones, tablets, and laptops require instant access to mobile broadband.  They deserve world-class wireless broadband as they make sacrifices on behalf of our country.  In today’s world, delivering quality health care and education services is more dependent than ever on wireless networks. The same goes for providing fire-fighting and other emergency services in and around military bases,” Adelstein said.

For the past four years, PCIA has helped spearhead an industry working group of telecommunications carriers and infrastructure providers that has shaped administrative and congressional policymaking on wireless infrastructure deployment on Federal lands.  Among other initiatives, PCIA and its members worked with allies in the public sector by participating in White House policy forums, hosting public/private Federal lands workshops, meeting with high-ranking Department of Defense officials, urging the General Services Administration to lessen the burden on those seeking to deploy broadband across the country, and encouraging the newly-formed Broadband Opportunity Council to prioritize and facilitate broadband deployment on Federal lands.

 Rubio’s bill is aimed at ensuring that the Federal treasury receives fair and full value for property leased for installation of wireless broadband facilities.  It has already garnered broad support from industry groups, the Obama administration, and Federal agencies, Adelstein pointed out.

“Senator Rubio is a former state legislator and city commissioner.  He recognizes the urgency of building public-private partnerships to ensure that wireless infrastructure is placed where it will best benefit consumers and businesses,” Adelstein said.

In addition to helping the wireless infrastructure industry better serve its customers and meet the Federal mandate of ubiquitous wireless broadband coverage, the Rubio bill will also help Federal agencies by allowing work to scale with deployment demands, by supporting fee retention, and by providing an ombudsman to expedite stalled applications.  These initiatives will provide agencies and the industry the certainty they need for new projects, noted Adelstein.

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PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association represents the companies that build, design, own and manage telecommunications facilities throughout the world. Its over 220 members include carriers, infrastructure providers, equipment manufacturers, systems integrators and professional services firms.