PCIA Press Releases

PCIA Applauds FCC’s Order on Wireless Infrastructure – Streamlined Rules Will Speed Broadband Deployment

October 17, 2014/ Alexandria, VA – Jonathan Adelstein, the President and CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, today commended the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its unanimous adoption of an Order to promote the deployment of wireless infrastructure.

"The FCC’s action today will ease the ‘wireless data crunch,’ accelerate the build-out of world-class wireless networks, create U.S. job and economic growth, and strengthen America’s global competitiveness," said Adelstein, whose 200-plus member trade association consists of wireless infrastructure providers, wireless carriers, equipment manufacturers, systems integrators and professional services firms.

Today’s Order, Adelstein pointed out, culminates a multi-year effort by PCIA, and a three-year FCC effort on its Broadband Acceleration Initiative. It is aimed at facilitating the building and upgrading of wireless networks by updating the federal regulatory framework, streamlining regulatory compliance, and eliminating obstacles to rights-of-way access.

"This is one of the most significant and comprehensive initiatives in the history of the FCC to expedite on-the-ground deployment of wireless broadband infrastructure," said Adelstein, a former FCC Commissioner.

"Chairman Wheeler, with strong bipartisan support, today reduced and, in some cases, eliminated obstacles to achieving one of America’s biggest economic priorities: expanding wireless broadband networks.

"By clarifying the rules for upgrading technology on existing sites, streamlining environmental and historic preservation review processes for smaller antenna facilities, and tightening the FCC’s ‘shot clock’ that sets time periods for state and local government siting application review, the FCC has set clear rules of the road that favor build-out over red tape. This infuses greater certainty into overall processes, which will spur greater investment in wireless broadband," Adelstein said.

The pervasive use of smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other wireless devices has spawned what Adelstein calls a “wireless data crunch,” resulting from tremendous increases in mobile data consumption that will only grow as Americans demand more bandwidth to accommodate next-generation technologies and applications.

"The U.S. wireless infrastructure industry is more than doing its part," Adelstein said. "We’re investing $35 billion annually, using private capital to strengthen and expand our networks to meet the wireless data crunch head-on. More infrastructure is indispensable to keep America’s wireless networks up to speed, especially with the spectrum constraints that we face for years to come.

"Today Chairman Wheeler and his fellow Commissioners are getting ahead of the curve by forging policy that will expedite the deployment of wireless networks," Adelstein said.

The specific provisions of the Order include:

• Defining the terms of Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act and developing rules for its implementation at the state and local level, including a new shot clock during which an application must be addressed or it is deemed granted. This ensures the efficient use of previously-approved structures to support new antennas and technology upgrades;

• Excluding certain distributed antenna systems (DAS), small cells and other discrete wireless facilities from environmental and historic preservation review, particularly for those deployments leveraging utility poles in rights-of-way and building rooftops;

• Clarifying the shot clock and defining wireless facility siting application processes, including applying the shot clock to DAS and small cells, limiting when additional application information can be requested and clarifying when the shot clock begins and when it can be tolled;

• Removing barriers to the deployment of temporary towers to boost coverage for large gatherings like festivals and rallies.

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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 200 members include carriers, infrastructure providers, equipment manufacturers, systems integrators and professional services firms.

 

Adelstein: More Progress Needed to Site Wireless Facilities on Federal Property

Reprinted with permission of TRDaily

PCIA President and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Adelstein said today that while progress has been made to facilitate the deployment of wireless infrastructure on federal government lands and in federal buildings, more is necessary.

“I spent 25 years in the Federal government, and I am proud to represent an industry now that wants to expand broadband everywhere. So I get that you are the good actors who are trying to help,” Mr. Adelstein said in the text of a speech he delivered this morning at a broadband deployment on federal properties workshop held in conjunction with the HetNet Expo in Chicago. “Yet we haven’t made as much progress as many had hoped. Today, we’re trying to change that. This unprecedented effort is intended to jumpstart the process to meet the goals of the President and of Congress.”

Mr. Adelstein noted that 30% of the U.S.’s land mass is owned or controlled by the federal government, and he added that “these are some of the hardest lands to site wireless infrastructure. Yet they are also some of the most remote, where broadband is especially critical for public safety and economic development. If our industry confronts heavy obstacles to deployment in areas where the business case is already most difficult, the result is that investment goes elsewhere. It is that simple. That means revenues that could flow to the Federal government – which is suffering from large deficits – will instead flow to private or state landholders next door. We’re here today to change that equation.

“In terms of Federal buildings, many are in more urbanized locations that are highly sought after by wireless carriers,” Mr. Adelstein noted. “By facilitating access, the Federal government can increase revenues and improve broadband for its citizens. The government might as well join the gold rush for these revenues as we densify the network. It seems like a no-brainer.”

Mr. Adelstein noted that the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 mandated “standard applications and agreements” to make it easier to site communications facilities on federal lands and properties, while also streamlining the approval of antenna collocations. He also cited President Obama’s 2012 executive order aimed at accelerating the deployment of broadband infrastructure on federal lands.

“There have been good developments since then. The working groups have been meeting and both public and private groups. They’re learning more about the cultural and institutional challenges to meeting the broadband mandate,” Mr. Adelstein said. “The Department of the Navy and the US Air Force put forward public memorandums that outlined the importance of siting broadband facilities on their properties. They began to provide the structure necessary to ensure that projects could move from concept to contract, to operation. We all know there’s more work to do.”- Paul Kirby, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TRDaily - October 16, 2014

The full text of Adelstein's remarks is below.

Jonathan Adelstein’s Opening Remarks – Federal Lands Workshop

HetNet Expo 2014, Chicago
October 16, 2014

Good morning! Thanks for joining us for this critical workshop. I especially thank our friends from the Federal government for making the special effort to get here. It is a real demonstration of your commitment to expand broadband access on Federal lands. You are the leaders who are trying to make a difference, so please forgive us if you hear us vent a bit about all of the problems we have had.

The President has acted to expedite broadband on Federal lands. Congress has acted by enacting legislation. We’ve seen some progress as a result, and we deeply appreciate the bipartisan leadership and commitment to move the ball forward. Leaders at the highest levels have sent a strong message that this is a national priority. And agency leaders such as yourselves have made important strides.

I spent 25 years in the Federal government, and I am proud to represent an industry now that wants to expand broadband everywhere. So I get that you are the good actors who are trying to help.

Yet we haven’t made as much progress as many had hoped. Today, we’re trying to change that. This unprecedented effort is intended to jumpstart the process to meet the goals of the President and of Congress.

We are bringing together the key leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss ways to meet the mandate of expanding broadband on Federal lands and properties.

There’s another clear reason this issue has received a push from our elected officials: it serves the needs of the American people.

They’re coming to rely increasingly on broadband for their daily lives: for public safety, for education, for health care and so much more.

More than 30% of America’s landmass is owned, or controlled, by the Federal government. As we will hear, these are some of the hardest lands to site wireless infrastructure. Yet they are also some of the most remote, where broadband is especially critical for public safety and economic development. If our industry confronts heavy obstacles to deployment in areas where the business case is already most difficult, the result is that investment goes elsewhere. It is that simple. That means revenues that could flow to the Federal government – which is suffering from large deficits – will instead flow to private or state landholders next door. We’re here today to change that equation.

In terms of Federal buildings, many are in more urbanized locations that are highly sought after by wireless carriers.

By facilitating access, the Federal government can increase revenues and improve broadband for its citizens. The government might as well join the gold rush for these revenues as we densify the network. It seems like a no-brainer.

The deployment of these facilities will support American citizens in a number of key ways.

It will help the Department of Defense in its mission at home by connecting military families on our nation’s bases just as they would expect off-base so that they can remain connected to their loved ones.

It’ll give America’s warfighters access to training opportunities on the most advanced technologies.

It’ll support public safety in its effort to establish a nationwide interoperable public safety network -- a network long overdue since the tragedy we suffered on 9/11 -- over 13 years ago. Our executive agencies throughout the federal government like the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, and the National Park Service need broadband to more efficiently meet their missions and protect their personnel.

Those missions include fighting forest fires and educating Americans about our national treasures through mobile video and interactive mobile content.

As I mentioned, in 2012 Congress recognized the importance of this when it passed the landmark Middle Class Tax Relief Act. That law put forward a framework for the application and siting of communications facilities on federal lands and properties through standard applications and agreements.

It also created the framework for the development of an interoperable public safety network, FirstNet, which we will hear about in a minute.

The law also streamlined siting of broadband facilities through collocation-by-right.

In the same vein, President Obama put forward Executive Order 13616 which outlined the policy reasons for action and created a cross-agency working group charged with meeting the mandate of deployment on Federal lands and properties.

All of these actions have one theme in common: expanding broadband is a national imperative and the Federal government is charged with actively working to overcome resistance on Federal lands and beyond.

There have been good developments since then. The working groups have been meeting and both public and private groups. They’re learning more about the cultural and institutional challenges to meeting the broadband mandate.

The Department of the Navy and the US Air Force put forward public memorandums that outlined the importance of siting broadband facilities on their properties. They began to provide the structure necessary to ensure that projects could move from concept to contract, to operation.

We all know there’s more work to do. That is why we are so thrilled to host you in Chicago today, and that you agreed to join us. Your participation signals that you get it.

You recognize the national priority the President and Congress have placed on this. And you’re here to move the ball forward.

We have a lot to cover today.

We’ll learn about the various rules and regulations that govern the siting of facilities.

We’ll learn about the application processes at various agencies and how the process looks through the lenses of both the government and private companies.

We’ll learn how to maintain those leases and ensure industry is being a good steward the land they are entrusted with.

And we’ll learn how federal agencies are working to address the lease renewal process.

We’ll also learn specifically about how the Department of the Navy is utilizing the operational memorandum I referred to earlier.

Thanks you for allowing PCIA to host this critical conversation. We stand prepared to help any way we can.

To kick things off, we are honored to have with us Ed Parkinson. He represents an agency that really needs this effort to succeed. FirstNet is charged with deploying a nationwide interoperable public safety network. Complete coverage, indoors and out, is part of the design.

No doubt, Federal Lands and Properties is some of the most limited existing inventory for shared infrastructure.

Ed is FirstNet’s Director of Government Affairs. He’s responsible for intergovernmental relations with local, state and federal organizations.

He previously served for five years as a Professional Staff Member for the House Homeland Security Committee, then chaired by Rep. Peter T. King of New York. While there, his primary responsibility was in the field of first responder telecommunications. He also worked on issues including border security, emergency preparedness, cybersecurity and investigations into waste, fraud and abuse of government resources.

Ed has tirelessly criss-crossed the country to promote the interests of first responders in FirstNet. I’ve seen him in action all across the country, and we are lucky to have this dedicated public servant with us today.

Please join me in welcoming Ed Parkinson.

 

PCIA CEO Says New Public-Private Job Training Initiative Will Help Create "Wireless Workforce of the Future"

October 14, 2014 / Alexandria, VA – Jonathan Adelstein, the President and CEO of PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association today predicted that a new public-private job training program will fill a pressing economic need by helping to create America’s "wireless workforce of the future."

Called TIRAP (the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program), the initiative establishes apprenticeships to train workers to deploy, upgrade, and maintain wireless network facilities, key imperatives if the U.S. is to meet burgeoning consumer demand and remain globally competitive in wireless technologies. Thousands of U.S. wireless infrastructure jobs, Adelstein pointed out, are currently going unfilled because workers have not received adequate training.

TIRAP is the product of months of deliberations between a telecommunications industry consortium and officials with the federal Department of Labor (DoL). It was officially launched this afternoon at a joint Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-DoL event that featured remarks by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, PCIA head Adelstein, and other consortium leaders.

"The wireless industry is working proactively to address workforce safety and training," said Adelstein, a former FCC commissioner whose organization helped shape the TIRAP agreement with DoL and the FCC.

"We are striving through TIRAP and other efforts to draw on the expertise of the entire wireless industry to build best practices and best-of-class training curricula across all facets of our workforce. Apprenticeships are a central part of the vision for a comprehensive wireless education. Training may begin in a classroom, but it has to continue in the field – especially in industries like ours – through well-crafted apprenticeships," Adelstein said.

PCIA’s vision, Adelstein explained, is to create industry-consensus standard operating procedures, provide trainers with first-rate teaching skills to educate workers, and establish employee certification to ensure that they’re implemented. Adelstein’s organization will also establish a database so employers can track those credentials.

TIRAP’s overall goals are to enhance worker safety; address the wireless industry’s needs in broadband deployment; and provide employment and advancement opportunities through skills-based and experiential training. The program will initially center on tower technicians while building pathways toward much-needed specialties and leadership roles. TIRAP’s ultimate aim is to open opportunities for high-skilled, high-paying jobs in one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

"Apprenticeships are just the beginning," Adelstein said. "We can leverage America’s higher education system, including community colleges and technical schools, to expand training. That will provide more opportunities for the current workforce to enhance their skills and keep up-to-date on the latest technology and techniques. It will also train new workers to fill roles the industry needs."

Today’s announcement marks PCIA’s second DoL wireless job training announcement in recent weeks. On September 29, DoL awarded a $3.25 million grant to Virginia State University (VSU), a historically black institution, to expand its PCIA-sponsored career training program for military veterans and displaced textile workers. Under the terms of the agreement, PCIA will help administer the VSU program.

TIRAP marks the first time that a DOL certification for registered apprenticeships has been awarded to an industry consortium instead of an individual entity. Upon finishing the training program, an apprentice earns a Completion of Registered Apprenticeship certificate, a nationally-recognized credential that validates a worker’s technical proficiency in various areas.

View Adelstein's remarks from the TIRAP signing ceremony. 

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PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association is the principal organization representing the companies that build, design, own and manage telecommunications facilities throughout the world. Its over 200 members include carriers, infrastructure providers, and professional services firms.

 

CEO Adelstein Underscores Need for Wireless Broadband on the Farm

October 10, 2014 / Alexandria, VA - In a commentary for the Farm Industry News, Jonathan Adelstein, President & CEO of PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association underscores the need for the U.S. to build next-generation wireless infrastructure in order to bridge the wireless gap, meeting the unprecedented demand for data use--because rural Americans deserve the same connectivity as their more urban counterparts.

The commentary begins, "As a native South Dakotan who’s devoted much of my career to strengthening rural America, I’ve seen my share of farm equipment. So I’ve been delighted twice this year to observe John Deere’s latest machinery in action.

Deere’s new machines are sleeker – and less bumpy – than the ones I was around as a kid. And there’s one other big difference: The 'Internet of Things' now includes 'Farm Things.' All of which explains why John Deere is an active member of my organization, PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association."

View the commentary in its entirety on the Farm Industry News website. 

 

John Deere Makes an Economic Case for Rural Broadband Expansion

AgPulseMasthead

AgriPulse

 

Reprinted with permission. Original article authored by Sarah Gonzalez

WHITE HALL, Md., Oct. 9, 2014 - While a combine operator harvests feed corn at Clear Meadow Farm in northern Maryland, he explains that if a problem arises with his equipment, he can make a call directly from his data monitor and grant access to the farm owner or equipment dealer who can then remotely view the combine data system and suggest adjustments.

Large farms like Clear Meadow Farm in White Hall, Maryland, benefit from access to broadband and the ability to wirelessly connect data from machine to machine as well as with the grower's laptop or tablet. The connection saves time, money and natural resources, John Deere managers explained at an event at the 5,000-acre grain and beef operation. The information the equipment collects throughout the year, during planting, fertilizing and harvest, is collected in real time and stored in the farm's data system.

In the northeastern U.S., with its many population centers, “we grow as many people as corn and cows…so it's not hard to get connected,” said Mark Lewellen, manager of spectrum advocacy at John Deere. “But that's not the case in other areas of the country.”

There is a pressing need to strengthen wireless broadband service to rural America, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told a small group of Capital Hill staffers, agricultural organization employees and John Deere representatives, when he spoke at the event.

“Technology makes farms more productive and efficient. That can provide a shot in the arm to the economy,” Pai said. “And it all depends on wireless connection.”

He said a farm visit like the one hosted Thursday by John Deere and PCIA, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, is an effective way to “demonstrate the power of technology in a way most people don't think about.”

“Broadband is a great equalizer,” he said. For example, if enough cellular towers were built throughout rural areas to provide consistent broadband access, rural communities would have the same access to information and healthcare services as residents in urban areas. “Agriculture is where we can see a multiplier effect,” Pai said, because as agricultural technology grows, the demand for farms' access to the broadband system will continue to increase as well. 

“Machine-to-machine communication is the future when it comes to agriculture,” he said.

PCIA's CEO Jonathan Adelstein, a former FCC Commissioner, said broadband companies need to find a “business case” to build up in rural areas, because “subsidies only get you so far.”

A report released today by the market strategy consultant iGR [in conjunction with PCIA's member-driven Rural Wireless Broadband Working Group] focused on this topic, arguing that because rural consumers are demanding the services that broadband enables, “A different economic equation is therefore needed to justify the costs of bringing broadband to rural America.”

A model based on population will not work in rural areas, noted the iGR report, which PCIA's Rural broadband Working Group commissioned.

“Rationalizing investment in rural areas requires an economic justification - and for that, rural investment analysis needs to use different metrics than are used in the metropolitan markets,” iGR said. For example, the economic model for broadband in rural areas should be based on the number of devices and connections, not simply the number of people to be covered, it said.

Tyler Hogrefe, a senior technology product manager at John Deere, noted, “You can't just think about the number of people, but the number of connected devices in the marketplace.”

The iGR report also asserted that once a broadband network is deployed, it will create more economic activity that will help maintain or increase population in those areas, “further justifying the investment.”

Additional incentives for broadband companies to expand in rural areas can be through state efforts like proposed legislation in Iowa that would provide an accelerated depreciation deduction for income tax, a 7 percent tax credit and a 100 percent property tax exemption for broadband infrastructure deployed in targeted areas.

Hogrefe demonstrated some of the capabilities of John Deere's data manager system, which can help growers contain and manage information from every aspect of the farm - including inputs, machinery, yield data, crop insurance information -- in one digital location.

He noted that when a machine fleet is connected and able to collect data about planting inputs and yield in real time, “USDA recordkeeping and EPA compliance reports are all more timely.”

Wireless access throughout a farm's acreage saves time and money for the farmer, John Deere managers said. For example, when the farmer can track and monitor a planter in real time, they can stop a problem before it stretches across the farm, “which is important when you have a 120-foot planter and seed is $300 per bag,” Hogrefe said.

John Deere's presentations suggested that innovations through technology and wireless communication will continue to expand and become available to farmers, but they can only be useful if producers have access to the broadband highway. And while agricultural technology may make some manual labor unnecessary, it does increase demand for rural workers in the tech field.

“Demand for technological labor in rural America is growing,” Hogrefe said. “Dealers need more people that understand this technology. And that need is going to grow with time.”

For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com
©2013 Agri-Pulse Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

 

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