March 19, 2020 – Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr on Thursday praised the FCC’s emergency efforts to bolster connectivity in light of the coronavirus pandemic now sweeping the United States in a session on Broadband Breakfast Live Online.
In a question and answer session with Drew Clark, editor and publisher of Broadband Breakfast, Carr said that “every reform is on the table” – particularly with regard to the agency’s Lifeline program – to ensure that American have adequate connectivity at this time.
Asked to prioritize the most significant actions undertaken by the FCC in response to the coronavirus COVID-19, Carr highlighted the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge, changes to Lifeline rules, greater remote connectivity, and licenses for greater spectrum usage.
Existing and potential future changes to Lifeline rules, and telehealth, will help “ease the burden” of connectivity on low-income Americans.
Carr praised FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s “unprecedented effort” to help Americans continue to access online resources. Pai launched pledge a week ago, which has three core parts. For the next 60 days, signers agreed to:
- Prevent the discontinuance of connectivity due to lack of payment.
- Waive late fees.
- Open up Wi-Fi internet access points hot spots.
“The response has really been overwhelming,” said Carr. There are “hundreds of internet providers that have stood up and taken this pledge,” touted Carr.
The FCC is also practicing telework and remote working to minimize health risks and contagion during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. As the agency works to keep Americans connected, FCC employees have to accomplish everything remotely.
Panelists continue discussion with Drew Clark on teleworking in coronavirus
Following the question and answer with Carr, the Broadband Breakfast Live Online series discussed tools for teleworking with Global Workplace Analytics President Kate Lister and two others. Lister said teleworking requires trust between the employers and the employees.
Ironically, the “highest volume of online shopping is during working hours,” so just having employees at work does not necessarily mean they are working more than they would at home,” said Lister.
With the major shift to teleworking across the United States in response to COVID-19, employees are at home with distractions and children.
In response to a question about how employees can work effectively in a less-than-ideal teleworking situation, Lister said, “relax your standards.”
ROKK Solutions Vice President Kaylin Trychon stressed the importance of cybersecurity in teleworking.
Trychon suggested dividing your “at-home network” so your work devices are password protected and separated. Also, turn off the devices that you’re not using, said Trychon.
“It takes all of us to be able to make sure that this goes forward and that we work towards recovery,” said Accelerant Business Solution Provider CEO Joel McKay Smith.
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