By LEE DUNHAMIn January, the Federal Communications Commission approved a rule that would allow manufacturers to offer fiber-based wireless services to homes and businesses, including those with fiber-optic cables.
Now, as more than 20 states and the District of Columbia have joined the FCC’s effort to install wireless fiber networks, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has warned that the move could have a “significant” effect on the federal stimulus funds the agency receives.
“We’ve got a $3 billion stimulus funding gap, which is going to be affected by the state and local deployment of fiber,” Clyburn said at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Clyburn’s comments come after the Federal Trade Commission announced it had found that a fiber network will result in higher prices for consumers and could even hurt the economy.
The FTC found that some of the most expensive wireless providers could earn up to 60 percent of the revenue from the networks.
In other words, if the Federal Government spends $50 million to $100 million a year to subsidize wireless service, it will likely earn more than $10 million per month from wireless carriers that offer fiber to the home.
The FTC found this was because the companies are able to collect and retain additional fees from consumers who pay more for wireless service than they otherwise would.
The FCC has said it is committed to supporting broadband deployment across the country, but has been hesitant to give more authority to wireless carriers to build networks.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said last month that the agency is still evaluating the impact of state-level efforts to build wireless networks, but said it was “very concerned” about the impact on the Federal stimulus funds.
“If you are going to make these investments, we need to make sure that they are backed by a clear set of rules,” Pai said at the time.
The White House, meanwhile, has urged Congress to extend the stimulus for as long as it can.
President Donald Trump has said the money should not be delayed until the US has more wireless capacity.
“The money is here.
It is the stimulus.
We’re not waiting for Congress to act on the money,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday.
“The president has been very clear that this is a matter of prioritizing investment and investments in broadband infrastructure and investment in our economy.
The president wants to get this done as quickly as possible.”