Reuters Quotes ILSR Expert on Internet Access Right of Way

Date: 2 Mar 2018 | posted in: Media Coverage | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In the News: Christopher Mitchell

March 2nd, 2018

Media Outlet: Reuters

Reuters reporter Carey Biron had a question, what the heck is going on in the impending rollout for new wireless technology? Luckily, our partners at Next Century Cities and our Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell, could contribute their expertise to the issue. Unfortunately, the larger fight revolves around 5G and other wireless policy bugaboos. Mitchell contributes an answer to Biron’s question on why fights around public rights of way are flashpoints in the Internet access landscape.

Here’s Mitchell’s contribution:

Pending legislation would set the fee at $250 per antenna attachment while giving companies access to “all public property and buildings” to put these up anywhere they see fit.

Part of the problem with not being able to direct where a company puts this infrastructure is that local authorities have little leverage to ensure that companies ensure access in poor and rural communities, Young and others said.

Such lack of local leverage has led many such areas to struggle for years for Internet access, said Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a think tank.

AT&T, one of the largest telecom companies in the country, plans to roll out mobile 5G service by the end of this year in a dozen cities.

When asked about concerns being voiced by some cities, a company spokeswoman pointed to a recent corporate blog post detailing three cities – Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Little Rock – that the company sees as leaders on 5G, and which AT&T says are now attracting increased investment.

The three cases include legislation or agreements for speeded-up approvals and fees starting at $50 per antenna, according to the post.

As to other concerns raised by cities, the spokeswoman referred questions to CTIA, a telecommunications industry group, which did not offer comment despite several requests by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Read the full story here.

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Nick Stumo-Langer

Nick Stumo-Langer was Communications Manager at ILSR working for all five initiatives. He ran ILSR's Facebook and Twitter profiles and builds relationships with reporters. He is an alumnus of St. Olaf College and animated by the concerns of monopoly power across our economy.