Connect Americans Now Urges FCC Action on White Spaces

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WASHINGTON—Connect Americans Now backs the FCC’s plan for TV white spaces, and has a wide-range of support as 41 companies representing agriculture, education, digital equity, rural communities, small business, technology and veterans co-signed comments filed by CAN earlier this week.

The FCC has issued a Report and Order that aims to expand the use of the 600 MHz spectrum, aka TV white spaces, for Wi-Fi devices. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says this will expand the devices’ ability to provide broadband coverage in rural and unserved areas, and help narrowband Internet of Things devices operate in TV white spaces. Broadcasters worry about potential interference issues this could cause broadcasters currently using the spectrum, but Pai believes the new rules would properly protect them.

A vote on the Report and Order is scheduled to take place at the commission’s open meeting on Oct. 27.

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“For the millions of Americans who lack access to a broadband connection, the pandemic has exacerbated the many challenges associated with the digital divide and made more urgent solutions to maximize the potential for every tool at the nation’s disposal, including TVWS,” CAN wrote in its comments. “This is why Connect Americans Now, and the 41 organizations co-signed on this letter, welcome the commission’s leadership to clear regulatory barriers to TVWS and strongly encourage the adoption of the draft Report that will help reduce costs and increase the reach of hybrid network broadband deployments.”

Among some of the companies and organizations that have signed CAN’s comments include BroadbandNow, National Rural Education Association, National Veteran Small Business Coalition, Eastern Oregon Telecom, California Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Rural Education Association and the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The full CAN comments are available online.