Testimony From NTCA Member at 5G Field Hearing Highlights Need for Small Cells and Fiber, Together With Streamlined Deployment Regulations

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kelly Wismer, (703) 351-2015, kwismer@ntca.org

Arlington, Va. (October 12, 2018)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association member Mark Shlanta, chief executive officer of SDN Communications (SDN) (Sioux Falls, S.D.) testified today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation during the field hearing, “The Race to 5G: A View from the Field,” in Sioux Falls, S.D. Shlanta shared the experiences of SDN, and the 17 ILECs in South Dakota that make up SDN’s ownership, regarding barriers to deploying broadband, work they are doing in the Upper Midwest to further rural broadband deployment and the role they play in supporting efforts to promote 5Gthrough small cells and a robust fiber network capable of handling the data demands.

SDN Communications CEO, Mark Shlanta told the Senate Commerce Committee, “Small cells or 5G – it’s still all about the wires and what I refer to as the 6G fiber optic networks that support such advances.  If I’m going to use my smart phone to send a message to my mother across town or my sister, who lives in South Korea, nearly all that communication will travel fiber in the ground or under the ocean; it’s only the very last part of the connection - from the handset to the tower - that is wireless. Today’s 4G and tomorrow’s 5G wireless do not exist without the 6G fiber that empowers them.”

Shlanta also expressed support for the Committee’s efforts to streamline regulations, “I want to thank you for a lighter regulatory touch, especially shot clocks encouraging local governments to act. In the past, it could take months, and in some cases, the regulatory expenses exceeded $25,000 per pole. That does not include the monthly fees to cities, campuses or other property owners.”

The full text of Shlanta’s submitted testimony is available online.  

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of transformative technological advancements, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year.