tv The Communicators Michael O Rielly FCC CSPAN October 7, 2019 8:00pm-8:34pm EDT
providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> host: and michael o'rielly is one of five commissionerses on the federal communications commission, and he is our guest this week on "the communicators." welcome back. commissioner o'rielly, it's only been about an hour since the court decided the net neutrality case. want to get your reaction. >> in fairness, i'm still digesting the decision from the court, but i'm generally pleased. they seem to have found the righten landing pots. there are a couple places i
probably would take issues with them and articulate that in the coming days. >> host: one of those issues is that it doesn't preempt states from doing their own thing. >> guest: as i read the piece, it's not a proactive preemption structure. still allows the commission to go forward and challenge states where the item would be in conflict with our rules. so i think it's going to lead to more state by state challenges, a case by case challenge, if you will, than the overall arching one that i was hoping for. i think what you're going to see is a number of states is have done things that i disagree with, and having 50 different states pull us in different directions is not what, you know, the structure should be. it's not interstate commerce. it's why we have an interstate commerce clause are, in by opinion, and it's not something they have expertise in, because
they're supposed to be governing intrastate traffic. and there is no intrastate traffic on the internet. >> host: joining us to drill down into this case and other issues is gopal ratnam of cq roll call who covers technology and telecom. >> thank you. interesting, telecom on the top about the net neutrality case, what are your concerns? i mean, you talk about how some, you know, state by state, and it'll be potentially late gated on the -- lit gated on a case by case basis. can you talk about what do you mean by case by case, and what do you see as the top issues you're going to be hooking at. >> guest: some states have gone after the procurement side, some have enacted their entire regime based on the rules we struck down and replaced with our recent action, so i don't know what particular state activity would be. but if it runs counter to what
we're trying to do with our policy, we'll likely have to challenge that activity under our authority. it'll be more of a state by state basis rather than here is the governance for traffic on the internet, internet access and broadband access, is and we're going to have to teal with that on the federal side. we're going to get many more litigants, more lawyers, more legal challenges. >> you already mentioned there's some states looking at it one way and some others looking at it differently. can you lay that out in terms of how they've been shaping up? >> guest: well, it depends on the state. they all have a little bit of nuance to them, and that's exactly why we haven't, you know, our founders haven't established an interstate commerce clause. traffic is interstate in nature, and now you're having 50 different states pull us in different ways based on their particular peculiarities in the state. some are going after
procurement, some going after the full enchi lad a that, if we're trying to -- we try to write certainty, try to answer this activity proactively, in my opinion. i think the minority opinion actually articulated this pretty pretty well. it didn't win at this particular junction, but there's many more rounds, i'm sure, in the overall debate. >> obviously, we're now on the verge of the 5g era. how do you think this particular decision and the way the court has framed it play into how the whole 5g architecture comes about? >> guest: in fairness, i've only had an hour with it. i think it does get to matter i've talked about, we're going to need proactive activities. there are statutes that govern those, the wireless side of the equation, so i envision that will be something that will be
challenged, and it's a long litigation ahead, a lot of activity for lawyers. >> host: so, commissioner, in these early hours after the decision, the california, california can move forward at this point, correct if. >> guest: what i think you can say is their reading of the decision, they're not proactively preempted. but we're still going to have an opportunity to challenge that decision as well as, you know, others, those affected. >> host: do you think that the fcc, the majority on the fcc will challenge that this. >> guest: i think it has to. otherwise, you get the lowest common denominator. whatever state wants to be the most active, aggressive, backwards-hooking net neutrality perspective, most every provider will have to follow. it's not something you offer in just one particular area. it's a network of networks x providers are trying to offer service neigh -- nationwide or at least in many different
states. a particular boundary of a state which may have been sited hundreds of years ago based on geography or military conflict and, it's just artificial, in my opinion. >> i want to talk a little bit more into the 5g aspect of your work expect commission. there's been a lot of criticism in the last several months of how the commission has gone about, you know, a augustses the spectrum. auctioning the spectrum. some of your colleagues are also said it's been focused on the high end of the spectrum and not enough of the mid-band spectrum. is that a valid criticism? how would you respond to that? >> guest: i disagree, but a identify spent the last three years trying to make mid-band a priority of the commission. i've spent a ton of time in the
previous commission in my early years there working on ooh high bands with tom wheeler and getting the right portfolios out there. i was one of the early, you know, people to recognize we have to spend time on mid-band. i was out there screaming mid-bands early and helped change the process within working with my colleagues, the chairman, to get mid-bands able for auction. we just announced the auction for cbrs last week. >> in terms of working with oh agencies, talk about how the process -- is that process working as it should and it has in the past, or is it kind of breaking down, if there isn't enough coordination between the different agencies?
the bands for 5g could potentially interfere with weather forecasting. i think people from the fcc have said that's not necessarily the case, so can you help us understand where that distinction, where the differences could emerge? was it the different set of models used by the commission that the other agencies didn't quite understand? >> well, look, we're looking at a protection standard, what is the light landing -- right landing spot. and we've been working on that for a long while. we had agreement amongst the federal agencies for a number of years, and just before our auction this year on the 24 gigahertz, they raised their hand and said, oh, we have differences here, and we're going to the take them nationally, egypt. we disagreed with that analysis. we conduct our work, and we're not talking about something that they're in 24, we're talking about pass we've bands that are adjacent. >> okay.
>> guest: this is something our technical folks have gone through. i found that their studies were lacking and troubled. in one instance, they were counting on a sensor of a satellite that didn't actually exist. so i have difficulties, and certainly they've used the political process in d.c. to further their cause, and that's more difficult to get possible resolution in the matter. >> host: so what's the agenda for the next set of auctions? >> guest: well, look, we are moving forward to auction off mid-band spectrum. we're working hard to complete the process on cbrs, 3.55-3.7 to make those licenses available. auction starts june 25th of 2020. we're working really hard to conclude what's known as the c band. i've worked extensively to make that happen. we hope to have a resolution, the chairman says he's optimistic this fall. depending on the outcome, 500 megahertz or a good portion, at
least 300 are going to be available for new 5g wireless services in the united states to complete globally with other countries that are trying to erase us to be the first. so we have a number of things that we're working forward. there'll be a 2.5 gigahertz auction at some point, and that'll keep us going for a while. on top of that, we're going to try to operate auction as it relates to our universal service dollars to make sure the subsidies we put out the make sure broadband gets to the hardest reach parts of america are done in an efficient way, and we're just waiting to schedule that. >> host: is that going to help address the urban-rural? >> guest: it is, you know, it is not just urban-rural, there are different pockets of the united states that don't have serviced today. most of those are in rural america, and we're working very hard to end anyone that doesn't have service should have service, and we're trying to make aha available. >> you talked about the 3.5
announced just recently, but some of your colleagues on the commission have said that that needs to be advanced, and we shouldn't wait until next year and, in fact, some of the mid-band should be auctioned ahead of the more high-end spectrum that's in the pipeline. do you agree with that, that we need to speed up, although the chairman has said all of the above auctions, but do you agree it should be sped up in advance of the other ones? >> guest: i don't think at this point we would change the timing. we've announced a date and, therefore, time for people to raise capital, make business model decisions, figure out the right offerings, things of that nature. but have i articulated internally that we should have sped up the mid-band auction? absolutely. i've made that point publicly and privately that we should -- but once a decision is made and we have an auction scheduled for december of this year, once those are in place, we need to move forward. >> i mean, you've, you talked
about the need for mid-band, but is the create schism valid that -- criticism valid that most to have united states' 5g network is built on millimeter waves, it ends up being more expensive and it could potentially exacerbate the rural-urban divide because the telecom providers are not going to go into sparsely populated areas, is that a valid criticism? >> guest: i don't think the heart of the 5g network is going to be all high band. i think the heart is going to be mid band. the number of providers already have some mid-band spectrum available, or they're using low-band and dragging that in the best they can. high bands have been productive in terms of the capacity they can hold, they have some limitations on distance, and the technology's improving on a day by day basis. i'm not sure high-band settings
are going to be wonderful in urban settings. they may not be the best fitting in rural, in the short term. i think the role of commissioners, in my opinion, is to make the situation better and try to work with what we have if work to progress -- and work to progress the situation and not just -- >> host: commissioner o'rielly, there's been some experimentation with 5g by different companies. what have you seen and when do you think it will be readily available nationwide? >> guest: we've had some deployments too. it's more than just testing. it is on small scale at the current time, but it's exciting what it's going to be and where it may take us wire helessly wi. it's going to be a a slow progression, because normally in the past the new g replaced the old g. 5g's going to be built on top of it, 4g's going to continue to
advance in terms of speed and capability, so the two are going to work simultaneously and in partnership, and so i think you're going to see it develop, you know, as things mature, and all of a sudden you realize, oh, i'm getting 5g speed. it's not going to be something that's a eureka moment that everyone gets turned on at the same time. that's not likely to happen. >> host: what's the fcc's approach when it comes to pole attachments if new an ten in -- and antennas? >> guest: most, i would say most localities, states recognize the benefits that their consumers want these technologies, but there are definitely some that are not of the mind and are trying to use the opportunity either to control power or money. they want to extract as much money as the situation -- and charging thousands of dollars for different connections. that's not acceptable, in my opinion. i have testified in front of
congress that we will need to preempt those situations under authorities given. in a number of instances, that will likely be challenged, and we'll have to see where the a hay of the land is. but at some point i imagine the congress is going to have to answer the question what is our authority in this space, and if they want us to have a preeminent position in a world in terms of wire he is technologies -- wireless technologies, we're going to have to continue to push localities that are not doing the right thing out of the way. >> you talk about the poles and that's being challenged, and i think you mentioned that. i think one of this them is new york. and there are also some members of congress who have felt the commission's decision was sort of taking away the states' rights. how do you expect the sort of differences to be resolved? >> guest: well, look, i work in some of the original positions in my past life, so i have a regard for the statute and
what's expected, what was intended at the time. i have difficulty when people fight on the issue of aesthetics. that was left to the congress that we were going to decide it on a federal level. is that pole pretty enough for my locality, that's not going to be acceptable behavior. same thing with radio frequency emission. that was something that was going to be dedicated and is dedicated by statute to the fcc, not based in addition to our medical entities. it's not something that we're having a state by state or locality by locality what deciding what's the proper rf level. we're trying to build a network and get services deployed to americans who really want them, that causes, you know, some strife with certain localities that are trying to control the power or want the money, and we have to deal with that. i think that's why i'm here in my job.
>> host: commissioner, that sounds like a frustrating part of the deemployment for you. >> guest: very much so. it's been something i've worked on almost 25 years, and the debate keeps coming back and forth. >> you brought up earlier this big can conference that's coming up in egypt end of october. i'm told it's like the united nations of the world radio spectrum, all the countries of the world get together once every four years -- >> guest: kind of like the spectrum to olympics. >> that's even better. and so what do you expect to come out of this, and i'm hearing that this will be the pivotal gatherings where all the countries will decide how they will deploy 5g and what kind of spectrum to use, respective countries. what do you expect to come out of this? >> guest: well, look, i'm pushing forward. i was at wrc-15, and so i've got a pretty good basis of what to expect this round in egypt.
i'm hopeful that the world community will recognize the need for additional bands for mobile services globally. there's benefits in terms of harmonization, costs to manufacture and consumer benefits, all things that come with having a harmonized band globally. but i've said quite publicly if the international community doesn't come to resolution, the united states will look for other countries and has in other instances to countries that are of liken mind to move forward -- like mind. so we have a real opportunity to get very proactive and very agrandsonnive and have -- aggressive and have new bands available for wireless growth in a world. if the process doesn't work, the united states will likely have to look elsewhere, different structure. the difference between the u.n. and some of the different other structures that we use today, you know? >> so you're saying there's a possibility that in this conference there may not be
unanimity, and that the united states might have to seek other countries to build consensus -- >> guest: the united states is in a good position to work with its colleagues. we're having to work in our region and come up with resolution on a number of bands that are important. you mentioned the 24 gigahertz, we're going to make resolution on that in our region, and i think we can defend those globally and have a really successful outcome at the end of november. but absent that, if it doesn't go that route, the united states will have to look forward, because we're not going to stop wireless progress in the united states on countries who have been, quite honestly, in my stitches it was based on competitive reasons. they weren't ready, they didn't have the capital to move forward, and the united states did. and we've done that in a couple bands because they were not ready at the time. >> host: commissioner o'rielly, what about working with our see graphical neighbors, canada, mexico, the caribbean, is there pretty much a unanimous
position -- >> guest: we work really hard with our beachfront partners. i was in ottawa for this exact purpose, and our region was there, we talked to our regional partners, our canadian friends, and found landing spots on all the different issues. i've also worked aggressively with our friends in mexico. the caribbean has been very active, and so we do try to find commonality amongst our region and take that position to wrc in october, no. >> host: before we get to, before we run out of time here, i want to ask you about another court decision, this one on media ownership, and i want to quote from the decision. and this was about -- against the fcc, that the fcc did not add a adequately consider the effect of its sweeping media ownership rule changes, that that will have on ownership of broadcast media by women and racial minorities. >> guest: i disagreed with that analysis from the 3rd circuit. this is something the 3rd
circuit has sent back four times. there is no amount of data that we can give them, all administrations have not been able to get past the threshold that the 3rd circuit has established here, and i've said we should challenge this in another forum whether it be an en banc situation or go to supreme court which i think, ultimately, we'll have to do, go to supreme court. there's no path we can get to what they're asking for. i disagree with their fundamental premise, their activity because it is locking in the status quo which is not reflective of the current media marketplace today. the marketplace that we have today is not the same one as when you wrote the original position in 1995 which became the '96 act. the world has changed considerably in video and audio services. and we need to reflect that. that's exactly a what we're trying to do. they have been putting up roadlocks, and the status quo is
winning. our rules look exactly as they did in 1975, 1976 and some of the early are '90s, the world has changed, they have not. >> i want to ask you a broader question. we haven't mentioned china in this conversation, and there's a lot of concern from people in congress and in the administration and elsewhere that china has made some significant gains in terms of 5g technology, and also they seem to be setting the global standard when it comes to the kind of spectrum that, you know, poorer countries in asia and africa will end up leaning on. how do you expect that that -- first of all, what's your take on chai that -- china kind of setting the global standard in terms of spectrum use for 5g? >> guest: look, i think the united states is helping a number of countries i pushing forward trying to be the preeminent position on 5g services and 6g eventually as well. they have a structure that uses
unlimited capital, the people's money and has no limitation in terms of deployment. they don't worry about a locality the or state stepping in their way, they just run over that situation. they tell the people they need to move. they're a totalitarian structure. it's awful, in by opinion. the people are celebrating it. the 70th anniversary is beyond comprehension to me. but in terms of policy setting, they're throwing -- you know, they have an industrial policy structure, and they're intending to use all resources to succeed in that process. and i'm not willing to let that happen against the united states' interests. >> host: commissioner o'rielly, i aapologize, but chuck schumer and tom cotton the two senators that don't agree on a hot, have sent a letter to fcc asking that licenses be examine because the increased chinese role in economics and other forms of
espionage requires a re-examination, and that's a quote from "the new york times". >>ing i'mmindful of the letter, and it's been talked about. we have a number of proceedings on this matter. their activity and potentially how the data could be used from these networks is potentially troubling, and we have to be mindful of that for national security. >> one of the elements that this has also been a criticism of the current fcc, the previous administration had an initiative that included risk assessment as part of the 5g rollout, and this administration has drawn back from that. does that make sense? should f, fcc be looking at cybersecurity and security of the entire network as a predicate? >> guest: i'd love to answer your question, but congress does. i can't make up authority that's not there. when we came in, you know, this
commission came into power, we reviewed what decisions have been made in the past. if congress changes its mind and says we would like the fcc to take a lead on cybersecurity,ly do a what they ask. they have ebb acted -- enacted a number of statutes where they've given that responsibility to other a agencies. i can't override statutes that have been enacted multiple times giving authorities to homeland security and other agencies. if they want to change that, i will be full partner in acting whatever they would like to do. we do look at 5g as part of our process. we do look at -- i'm sorry, we do look at security as part of that process in some capacity, but we don't take an active cybersecurity rule, we don't have them as they pertain today. i respect former chairman tom wheeler's viewpoint on this, but he and i just have a disagreement, and he's created pieces in the statute that don't
exist. >> host: are you frighteninged of huawei? >> guest: i'm frightened of no provider in the world today. i have concerns about every, you know, situation that may come from a chinese company and the relationship with the, with their, with their government. and so we're mindful of that and looking through what that means for our national security. >> host: what's the status of the lifeline program? >> guest: well, it's still, it's active today. consumers can still, that are eligible, can still receive a lifeline service and life phones. we are installing a national verifier prostate by state -- process state by state to make sure we can root out waste, fraud and abuse. the program has had a number of problems in the past trying to address those in multiple different layers and working hard to make that, make it as most efficient as we possibly can. the process is sometimes messy,
but the program does exist today. there are some changes that people have looked to make and some changes in policy, and i'll be open to considering those at the right time. >> host: you've been looking at some of those cases of fraud and abuse, haven't you? >> guest: absolutely. we have enforcement action, i can't speak to the specifics, but people have taken advantage of the program in the past, and that's not acceptable. it's a waste of rate payer dollars that particular my fall on the floorest americans. -- poorest americans. >> host: commissioner o'rielly, i want to ask you one more question about the net neutrality decision at the d.c. court of appeals. read from the decision, it i says that the agency did not adequately address petitioners' concerns about the effects of broadband reclassification on the lifeline program. >> guest: right. there were three pieces that they've asked us to look at again, and i imagine the chairman do so in the proceeding and articulate, you know, why those situations are acceptable
under the rules that we have framed. and so i don't see that as a huge barrier to addressing what the courts thought. >> host: gopal ratnam. >> one thing we didn't talk about this, the commission is considering a spectrum band for driverless cars that's been set aside for driverless cars, and now i think there's some discussion about the wi-fi industry wanting some portion of it or all of it to be repurposed. where do you come down on whether that particular band needs to be set aside for driverless cars or more of it needs to be available for the wi-fi users? >> guest: it's a little bit broader, because it was set aside in 1999 for automobile safety and technology. the truth is automobile safety and technology has advanced in multiple other bands and technologies outside of -- you speak of the 9 gigahertz band. i've been aggressive saying we need to relook at this band, and
i believe we can easily take a portion of this band and make it available for unlicensed technology to enter and be a shared band. we can have a situation where 30 megahertz is dedicated of the 75 is dedicated for automobile safety only and still have 45 megahertz that everyone can use, including the automobile companies. we think that is a formula that air talked about for quite a while that that can winning for both. even though the technology has passed us by and that's problem mat -- problematic. >> host: commissioner o'rielly, have you ridden in a driverless car yet? >> guest: i don't believe i have. i seen some tests and ridden in them in a parking lot. i don't know if i would call it a driverless car, but it's close. >> host: michael o'rielly has been on the fcc since 2013. governor pal rut name is with cb roll call. thank you for being on "the "the communicators."
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the event is hosted by the heritage foundation live at noon eastern on c-span. also tuesday, the supreme court hears an oral argument in the case of bostock v. georgia for members of the lgbtq community. he was fired from his job when his employer learned that he joined a gay recreational softball league. after the oral arguments, the national press club will hold a discussion on workplace discrimination. you can see it live starting at 1 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> and starting now, it's booktv on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]