Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC to Consider Additional Innovation Zones, NACo Broadband Task Force Report 

FCC to Consider Additional Innovation Zones  

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed adding Raleigh, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts as innovation test zones.  Presently, New York City and Salt Lake City are the city test beds managed by the National Science Foundation’s Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research where the development and integration of 5G network technologies and open radio access networks, or Open RAN, is researched. 

“These Innovation Zones will support cutting-edge research and development that is crucial for advancing our wireless leadership,” explained Rosenworcel. “Moreover, by bringing together operators, vendors, vertical interests, and other government agencies, we are helping to spur a market for more secure and open 5G technologies.” 


NACo Broadband Task Force Report 

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and its Broadband Task Force released a report outlining the critical roles counties play in providing reliable and affordable broadband access.  The report, titled “Broadband Task Force: High-Speed Internet is Essential for All Counties,” includes research and case studies from 28 different counties across the nation.   


Preliminary findings of the Task Force: 

  • County officials play a crucial role as policymakers, funders, data aggregators, conveners, and partners in pursuing sustainable solutions to broadband access, affordability, and reliability. County officials therefore require the knowledge, policy tools, funding resources, and support necessary to meet community broadband needs. 
  • Federally supported, locally collected, and verified data is imperative to understand America’s true state of connectivity. 
  • Eliminating the nation’s digital divide and ensuring universal, reliable, affordable broadband access requires multiple technological solutions (with redundancy and scale), including fiber, satellite, cellular, fixed wireless, cable, and future innovations. 
  • Open “middle mile” systems can increase competition and result in improved affordability and access. 
  • Federal resources used to eliminate the digital divide should incentivize future-proofed systems (i.e., symmetrical 1gbps network) and require coordination between local governments and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ensure community needs are met within acceptable timeframes. 
  • Broadband needs to be regulated as a utility to eliminate the digital divide effectively and comprehensively. 


The Task Force also identified and discussed nine specific themes to guide its best practices and policy recommendations: 

  1. Defining a modern “minimum standard” of broadband 
  2. Implementing smart “Dig Once” policies including “rights of way” as public assets 
  3. Testing and deploying fiber, cellular, satellite and other technologies 
  4. Focusing on local community engagement and partnerships 
  5. Tackling the “Homework Gap”  
  6. Removing bans on municipal broadband 
  7. Establishing a national grants/loans clearinghouse 
  8. Regulating broadband as a utility 
  9. Committing to world-class broadband data and mapping analytics 




The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of
telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative,
and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each
day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra