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In the latest episode of NEDAS Live!, David Bronston, Special Counsel and Telecommunications Practice Co-Lead at Phillips Lytle, engaged in an insightful discussion with host, Ilissa Miller. The two explored key topics spanning regulatory challenges in the telecom industry to the nuances of implementing the Broadband Equity and Deployment (B) program.

Bronston began with an overview of his extensive telecom industry experience and Phillips Lytle’s focus on digital infrastructure. Diving into the intricacies of telecom practice, Bronston covers operational agreements, M&A dynamics, and the complexities of regulatory compliance across federal, state, and local levels.

The conversation started with David’s experience with the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and its relevance amidst ongoing regulatory shifts like net neutrality and digital discrimination rules currently under debate and discussion in Congress. Bronston and Miller explore the proposed regulatory changes such as the bulk billing ban and its potential impacts on broadband service competition.

Transitioning into the BEAD program, Bronston shares insights into its funding allocation mechanisms, applicant requirements, and the critical importance of effective execution in deploying broadband networks to underserved regions. He further highlights the pivotal roles played by state broadband program offices and the NTIA in ensuring accountability and optimal fund utilization.

Challenges such as legal complexities, contractual obligations, and the diverse range of entities receiving BEAD program funds are also discussed throughout the episode. The conversation emphasizes the broader implications of digital infrastructure development on economic growth, improved service access like telehealth, and educational opportunities.

Key Takeaways and Implications:

  • Navigating Regulatory Terrain: The telecom industry faces ongoing regulatory complexities, requiring adept management of evolving rules such as net neutrality and digital discrimination.
  • Empowering Underserved Communities: Initiatives like the BEAD program are instrumental in bridging the digital divide by expanding broadband access, necessitating strategic funding and efficient deployment strategies.
  • Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement: Success in broadband deployment programs hinges on collaboration between government bodies, ISPs, legal experts, and other stakeholders to ensure effective utilization of funds and adherence to project timelines.
  • Future Opportunities: Enhanced digital connectivity not only fuels economic growth but also unlocks possibilities for improved healthcare access through telemedicine, enhanced educational resources, and overall societal well-being.

David Bronston’s insights offer valuable perspectives on the dynamic landscape of telecom and broadband infrastructure. As technology continues to evolve, strategic partnerships, regulatory acumen, and a focus on equitable digital access will be paramount in shaping a more connected future for all.

Tune in to NEDAS Live! Episode 52, “Navigating Telecom and Broadband Infrastructure with David Bronston,” to understand how to better prepare for the shifts in the industry. Click here to listen.

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