T-Mobile weighs in on possible broadband stimulus incentives

T-Mobile has publicly weighed in on any possible stimulus incentives Congress may enact when it comes to accelerating broadband deployments. In a letter to congressional bipartisan leaders, the operator, which indicated the U.S. economy is having an impact on the its buildout plans for advanced services, outlined steps lawmakers can take to help wireless broadband operators create new jobs. The steps include:

  • Tax credits that can offset the alternative minimum tax and by allowing for a current year refund of unused tax credits.
  • Properly designed direct grants and other economic incentives. T-Mobile warns that any open-access provisions should be separately addressed from the grant program or any stimulus package component because it is so complex and could deter operator interest.
  • Ensuring that any broadband speed requirements don't exclude mobility services.
  • Establish a "shot clock" that puts a reasonable time limit on state and local zoning approval for the construction of cell towers. T-Mobile believes that time limit should be 75 days.
  • Authorize broadband infrastructure bonds that entitle purchasers to a tax credit, so that providers can issue bonds without having to pay interest.
  • Provide funding to defray the costs of backhaul facilities as the high cost of backhaul is a disincentive to building wireless networks in rural areas.
  • Encourage demand for broadband in rural and low-income areas by reforming the existing low-income subsidy programs administered by the Federal Communications Commission to include broadband.

"T-Mobile believes that, with the appropriate economic stimulus, it would be able to significantly accelerate and broaden the geographic scope of its rollout of advanced wireless services--leading directly to the creation of jobs associated with building the network to provide these services," the operator said.

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