In September 2016, candidate Donald J. Trump, speaking at the Economic Club in New York, pledged to create 25 million new jobs over the next decade. Mr. Trump declared himself to be a champion of the working class and small business interests, vowing a return to the heyday of American manufacturing and small town economic strength: “My economic plan rejects the cynicism that says our labor force will keep declining, that our jobs will keep leaving, and that our economy can never grow as it did once before. And boy, oh boy, did it used to grow!”
When it comes to stimulating good paying, long-lasting middle class jobs to parts of America frequently described as “Trump Country,” President Trump and Ajit Pai, Trump’s appointed Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman, are faced with a stark decision in the upcoming months. It is a decision that will either confirm President Trump’s status as a small town, working class American hero by affirming his pro-small business, Main Street economic growth rhetoric, or it will show that the President’s Administration as favors big business and Wall Street.
As discussed in the recent Wireless Week article authored by Jonathan Marashlian and Ronald E. Quirk, the FCC’s program, commenced in 2015, would enable small telecommunications carriers to compete against larger incumbent companies to provide wireless broadband service to underserved areas, including small towns and rural areas all across the U.S., is now in jeopardy due to a spectrum grab attempt by a large wireless carrier.
The program, as currently structured, facilitates small-area “census tract” licensed, as well as unlicensed, use of the 3550-3700 MHz (3.5 GHz) band, is structured to economically reward the efficient provision of wireless broadband service in rural America and other less populated areas, resulting in more jobs and economic growth in parts of the country desperately in need of revitalization.
T-Mobile recently filed a petition for rulemaking with the FCC that would gut the entire plan. If adopted, T-Mobile’s petition – which calls for doing away with the unlicensed portion of the 3.5 GHz band, auctioning off the entire band as licensed service, implementing large licensing areas, and giving licensees 10 year licenses with renewal expectancy – would virtually ensure that only the largest mobile network operators (“MNOs”) could use the 3.5 GHz spectrum. Smaller carriers would be completely priced out of the market. T-Mobile also advocates economic incentives that would strongly discourage the provision of wireless broadband service to underserved areas. Other large carriers have filed in support of key provisions of T-Mobile’s petition.
Accordingly, it is crucial that anyone who benefits from the current rules take action to keep the 3.5 GHz playing field from tilting severely in favor of the “big four” wireless providers. To discuss available options, please contact Jonathan Marashlian at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 714-1313, or Ronald E. Quirk at email@example.com, or 703-714-1305.