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Input to FCC on Emergency Broadband, Ajit Pai’s Final Days at Agency, Accessing Resources, Richard Bates Dies

Jericho Casper

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on

Photo of Richard Bates from The Laughing Place

January 5, 2021 — The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau on Monday issued a request for public input on how best to administer the new $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program created by Congress, to help low-income individuals access the Internet.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 — the $2.3 trillion spending bill that combines $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the 2021 federal fiscal year — directed the agency to create the program, which will reimburse participating companies for providing discounted broadband service and connected devices to eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act sets forth several requirements for participation in the program. To participate, a provider must be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier or be approved by the Commission.

Participating providers will make available to eligible households a monthly discount, of up to $50, off the standard rate for Internet service and associated equipment. On Tribal lands, the monthly discount offered by participants will be up to $75 per month.

“We’re excited to get to work on this new program, which responds to my call last June for Congress to fund a program to advance the Keep Americans Connected initiative that we launched when the pandemic started,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a statement.

“The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will go a long way ensuring that low-income American families and veterans are connected during the pandemic,” said Pai. “Our staff is moving quickly to stand up this program so we can direct funding to consumers who need help.”

In structuring the program, the Commission is seeking public input on a range of issues, including on which providers should be able to participate in the program, what reporting requirements are necessary, how the agency can promote awareness of the program, what rules are needed to ensure appropriate service on Tribal lands, and much more.

“We look forward to getting public input on how best to structure this effort,” said Pai.

What to watch during Chairman Pai’s last weeks at the FCC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the agency on January 20, 2021.

While the outgoing GOP Chair has yet to issue any plans for narrowing Section 230 liability protections for tech companies, which President Donald Trump and other conservatives have pleaded for, he’s been keeping busy.

Pai is attempting to knock out long-standing objectives by proactively circulating proposals for votes rather than holding formal votes during the FCC’s last official meeting under him, on January 13.

Among the items he’s circulating are a rulemaking looking at ways to free up 12 Gigahertz satellite airwaves for 5G wireless use, although the initiative has received pushback from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

In October, SpaceX was part of a group of players arguing against a proposal by Dish Network that would have the FCC take a closer look at the rules for the 12 GHz band, reported Fierce Wireless. Last Wednesday, Pai circulated to his colleagues a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, would seek comment on whether to allow mobile services in the 12 GHz band.

Pai is also pushing forward on an objective to approve rules for auctioning off additional 2.5 Gigahertz airwaves, which he said he wants to happen in the first half of this year. Last week it was announced that the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted 22 additional applications for spectrum licenses to use the 2.5 GHz band to close the digital divide and to provide broadband and other advanced wireless services to rural Tribal communities.

Pai is further circulating proposals to finalize details around the grantees for a $100 million telehealth pilot program, reported Politico.

NDIA publishes overview of broadband provisions in COVID-19 relief bill

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance recently published an overview to help digital inclusion practitioners determine how best to access resources resulting from the recent COVID-19 relief legislation, such as those offered by the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program.

“People are going to have hundreds of questions,” said NDIA’s executive director Angela Siefer, during a recent NDIA webinar. Siefer detailed that NDIA’s goal is to consolidate critical information on federal benefits to save individuals from the pain of having to go through the bill, page-by-page.

The publication details everything individuals need to know about accessing broadband provisions included in the relief bill. Most notably, the document plainly lays out the eligibility requirements for each provision, and further, what types of initiatives suitable entities can request grant funds for.

NDIA’s guide also details the agency’s order priority for selecting those interested in accessing funds to expand broadband in underserved communities.

Richard Bates, Disney’s longtime director of government relations, dies at 70

Richard Bates, the longtime head of government relations for Disney, died December 31 at his home outside Washington, D.C. He was 70.

Bates had represented Disney in the halls of Congress and other public policy arenas since 1991.

Bates’ colleagues, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger and CEO Bob Chapek, said in a joint statement that the executive’s death was sudden and that they are “heartbroken” over Bates’ passing.

“As head of our Government Relations team in Washington, D.C., Richard was second to none in his field — widely respected for his incredible achievements and beloved for his extraordinary kindness, compassion, and irresistible wit,” Iger and Chapek wrote.

Many in the tech industry have voiced statements of commiseration.

“We have had the privilege of working closely with Richard for many years and saw up close his intelligence and leadership in representing Disney and other content creators. But beyond his many policy successes, Richard was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend to so many,” wrote Internet and Television Association President and CEO Michael Powell, in a statement.

The Media Institute, where Bates was a valued member of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2018, further expressed sorrow upon the news of his passing.

Broadband Roundup

Democrats Want Biden to Drop Net Neutrality Suit Against States, AT&T and Digital Divide, Cornell’s Broadband Program

Tim White

Published

on

Photo of Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., keynoting at a Broadband Breakfast Club event

January 5, 2021 — The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau on Monday issued a request for public input on how best to administer the new $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program created by Congress, to help low-income individuals access the Internet.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 — the $2.3 trillion spending bill that combines $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the 2021 federal fiscal year — directed the agency to create the program, which will reimburse participating companies for providing discounted broadband service and connected devices to eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act sets forth several requirements for participation in the program. To participate, a provider must be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier or be approved by the Commission.

Participating providers will make available to eligible households a monthly discount, of up to $50, off the standard rate for Internet service and associated equipment. On Tribal lands, the monthly discount offered by participants will be up to $75 per month.

“We’re excited to get to work on this new program, which responds to my call last June for Congress to fund a program to advance the Keep Americans Connected initiative that we launched when the pandemic started,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a statement.

“The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will go a long way ensuring that low-income American families and veterans are connected during the pandemic,” said Pai. “Our staff is moving quickly to stand up this program so we can direct funding to consumers who need help.”

In structuring the program, the Commission is seeking public input on a range of issues, including on which providers should be able to participate in the program, what reporting requirements are necessary, how the agency can promote awareness of the program, what rules are needed to ensure appropriate service on Tribal lands, and much more.

“We look forward to getting public input on how best to structure this effort,” said Pai.

What to watch during Chairman Pai’s last weeks at the FCC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the agency on January 20, 2021.

While the outgoing GOP Chair has yet to issue any plans for narrowing Section 230 liability protections for tech companies, which President Donald Trump and other conservatives have pleaded for, he’s been keeping busy.

Pai is attempting to knock out long-standing objectives by proactively circulating proposals for votes rather than holding formal votes during the FCC’s last official meeting under him, on January 13.

Among the items he’s circulating are a rulemaking looking at ways to free up 12 Gigahertz satellite airwaves for 5G wireless use, although the initiative has received pushback from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

In October, SpaceX was part of a group of players arguing against a proposal by Dish Network that would have the FCC take a closer look at the rules for the 12 GHz band, reported Fierce Wireless. Last Wednesday, Pai circulated to his colleagues a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, would seek comment on whether to allow mobile services in the 12 GHz band.

Pai is also pushing forward on an objective to approve rules for auctioning off additional 2.5 Gigahertz airwaves, which he said he wants to happen in the first half of this year. Last week it was announced that the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted 22 additional applications for spectrum licenses to use the 2.5 GHz band to close the digital divide and to provide broadband and other advanced wireless services to rural Tribal communities.

Pai is further circulating proposals to finalize details around the grantees for a $100 million telehealth pilot program, reported Politico.

NDIA publishes overview of broadband provisions in COVID-19 relief bill

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance recently published an overview to help digital inclusion practitioners determine how best to access resources resulting from the recent COVID-19 relief legislation, such as those offered by the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program.

“People are going to have hundreds of questions,” said NDIA’s executive director Angela Siefer, during a recent NDIA webinar. Siefer detailed that NDIA’s goal is to consolidate critical information on federal benefits to save individuals from the pain of having to go through the bill, page-by-page.

The publication details everything individuals need to know about accessing broadband provisions included in the relief bill. Most notably, the document plainly lays out the eligibility requirements for each provision, and further, what types of initiatives suitable entities can request grant funds for.

NDIA’s guide also details the agency’s order priority for selecting those interested in accessing funds to expand broadband in underserved communities.

Richard Bates, Disney’s longtime director of government relations, dies at 70

Richard Bates, the longtime head of government relations for Disney, died December 31 at his home outside Washington, D.C. He was 70.

Bates had represented Disney in the halls of Congress and other public policy arenas since 1991.

Bates’ colleagues, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger and CEO Bob Chapek, said in a joint statement that the executive’s death was sudden and that they are “heartbroken” over Bates’ passing.

“As head of our Government Relations team in Washington, D.C., Richard was second to none in his field — widely respected for his incredible achievements and beloved for his extraordinary kindness, compassion, and irresistible wit,” Iger and Chapek wrote.

Many in the tech industry have voiced statements of commiseration.

“We have had the privilege of working closely with Richard for many years and saw up close his intelligence and leadership in representing Disney and other content creators. But beyond his many policy successes, Richard was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend to so many,” wrote Internet and Television Association President and CEO Michael Powell, in a statement.

The Media Institute, where Bates was a valued member of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2018, further expressed sorrow upon the news of his passing.

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

President Donald Trump Impeached Twice, AI’s Role in COVID-19 Mutations, 5G and Health Care

Samuel Triginelli

Published

on

January 5, 2021 — The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau on Monday issued a request for public input on how best to administer the new $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program created by Congress, to help low-income individuals access the Internet.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 — the $2.3 trillion spending bill that combines $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the 2021 federal fiscal year — directed the agency to create the program, which will reimburse participating companies for providing discounted broadband service and connected devices to eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act sets forth several requirements for participation in the program. To participate, a provider must be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier or be approved by the Commission.

Participating providers will make available to eligible households a monthly discount, of up to $50, off the standard rate for Internet service and associated equipment. On Tribal lands, the monthly discount offered by participants will be up to $75 per month.

“We’re excited to get to work on this new program, which responds to my call last June for Congress to fund a program to advance the Keep Americans Connected initiative that we launched when the pandemic started,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a statement.

“The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will go a long way ensuring that low-income American families and veterans are connected during the pandemic,” said Pai. “Our staff is moving quickly to stand up this program so we can direct funding to consumers who need help.”

In structuring the program, the Commission is seeking public input on a range of issues, including on which providers should be able to participate in the program, what reporting requirements are necessary, how the agency can promote awareness of the program, what rules are needed to ensure appropriate service on Tribal lands, and much more.

“We look forward to getting public input on how best to structure this effort,” said Pai.

What to watch during Chairman Pai’s last weeks at the FCC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the agency on January 20, 2021.

While the outgoing GOP Chair has yet to issue any plans for narrowing Section 230 liability protections for tech companies, which President Donald Trump and other conservatives have pleaded for, he’s been keeping busy.

Pai is attempting to knock out long-standing objectives by proactively circulating proposals for votes rather than holding formal votes during the FCC’s last official meeting under him, on January 13.

Among the items he’s circulating are a rulemaking looking at ways to free up 12 Gigahertz satellite airwaves for 5G wireless use, although the initiative has received pushback from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

In October, SpaceX was part of a group of players arguing against a proposal by Dish Network that would have the FCC take a closer look at the rules for the 12 GHz band, reported Fierce Wireless. Last Wednesday, Pai circulated to his colleagues a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, would seek comment on whether to allow mobile services in the 12 GHz band.

Pai is also pushing forward on an objective to approve rules for auctioning off additional 2.5 Gigahertz airwaves, which he said he wants to happen in the first half of this year. Last week it was announced that the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted 22 additional applications for spectrum licenses to use the 2.5 GHz band to close the digital divide and to provide broadband and other advanced wireless services to rural Tribal communities.

Pai is further circulating proposals to finalize details around the grantees for a $100 million telehealth pilot program, reported Politico.

NDIA publishes overview of broadband provisions in COVID-19 relief bill

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance recently published an overview to help digital inclusion practitioners determine how best to access resources resulting from the recent COVID-19 relief legislation, such as those offered by the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program.

“People are going to have hundreds of questions,” said NDIA’s executive director Angela Siefer, during a recent NDIA webinar. Siefer detailed that NDIA’s goal is to consolidate critical information on federal benefits to save individuals from the pain of having to go through the bill, page-by-page.

The publication details everything individuals need to know about accessing broadband provisions included in the relief bill. Most notably, the document plainly lays out the eligibility requirements for each provision, and further, what types of initiatives suitable entities can request grant funds for.

NDIA’s guide also details the agency’s order priority for selecting those interested in accessing funds to expand broadband in underserved communities.

Richard Bates, Disney’s longtime director of government relations, dies at 70

Richard Bates, the longtime head of government relations for Disney, died December 31 at his home outside Washington, D.C. He was 70.

Bates had represented Disney in the halls of Congress and other public policy arenas since 1991.

Bates’ colleagues, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger and CEO Bob Chapek, said in a joint statement that the executive’s death was sudden and that they are “heartbroken” over Bates’ passing.

“As head of our Government Relations team in Washington, D.C., Richard was second to none in his field — widely respected for his incredible achievements and beloved for his extraordinary kindness, compassion, and irresistible wit,” Iger and Chapek wrote.

Many in the tech industry have voiced statements of commiseration.

“We have had the privilege of working closely with Richard for many years and saw up close his intelligence and leadership in representing Disney and other content creators. But beyond his many policy successes, Richard was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend to so many,” wrote Internet and Television Association President and CEO Michael Powell, in a statement.

The Media Institute, where Bates was a valued member of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2018, further expressed sorrow upon the news of his passing.

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

Michigan Resident Builds Homemade Fiber, Latest Innovations from LG, 2020 Internet Speeds Declined

Derek Shumway

Published

on

January 5, 2021 — The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau on Monday issued a request for public input on how best to administer the new $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program created by Congress, to help low-income individuals access the Internet.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 — the $2.3 trillion spending bill that combines $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the 2021 federal fiscal year — directed the agency to create the program, which will reimburse participating companies for providing discounted broadband service and connected devices to eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act sets forth several requirements for participation in the program. To participate, a provider must be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier or be approved by the Commission.

Participating providers will make available to eligible households a monthly discount, of up to $50, off the standard rate for Internet service and associated equipment. On Tribal lands, the monthly discount offered by participants will be up to $75 per month.

“We’re excited to get to work on this new program, which responds to my call last June for Congress to fund a program to advance the Keep Americans Connected initiative that we launched when the pandemic started,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a statement.

“The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will go a long way ensuring that low-income American families and veterans are connected during the pandemic,” said Pai. “Our staff is moving quickly to stand up this program so we can direct funding to consumers who need help.”

In structuring the program, the Commission is seeking public input on a range of issues, including on which providers should be able to participate in the program, what reporting requirements are necessary, how the agency can promote awareness of the program, what rules are needed to ensure appropriate service on Tribal lands, and much more.

“We look forward to getting public input on how best to structure this effort,” said Pai.

What to watch during Chairman Pai’s last weeks at the FCC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the agency on January 20, 2021.

While the outgoing GOP Chair has yet to issue any plans for narrowing Section 230 liability protections for tech companies, which President Donald Trump and other conservatives have pleaded for, he’s been keeping busy.

Pai is attempting to knock out long-standing objectives by proactively circulating proposals for votes rather than holding formal votes during the FCC’s last official meeting under him, on January 13.

Among the items he’s circulating are a rulemaking looking at ways to free up 12 Gigahertz satellite airwaves for 5G wireless use, although the initiative has received pushback from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

In October, SpaceX was part of a group of players arguing against a proposal by Dish Network that would have the FCC take a closer look at the rules for the 12 GHz band, reported Fierce Wireless. Last Wednesday, Pai circulated to his colleagues a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, would seek comment on whether to allow mobile services in the 12 GHz band.

Pai is also pushing forward on an objective to approve rules for auctioning off additional 2.5 Gigahertz airwaves, which he said he wants to happen in the first half of this year. Last week it was announced that the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted 22 additional applications for spectrum licenses to use the 2.5 GHz band to close the digital divide and to provide broadband and other advanced wireless services to rural Tribal communities.

Pai is further circulating proposals to finalize details around the grantees for a $100 million telehealth pilot program, reported Politico.

NDIA publishes overview of broadband provisions in COVID-19 relief bill

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance recently published an overview to help digital inclusion practitioners determine how best to access resources resulting from the recent COVID-19 relief legislation, such as those offered by the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program.

“People are going to have hundreds of questions,” said NDIA’s executive director Angela Siefer, during a recent NDIA webinar. Siefer detailed that NDIA’s goal is to consolidate critical information on federal benefits to save individuals from the pain of having to go through the bill, page-by-page.

The publication details everything individuals need to know about accessing broadband provisions included in the relief bill. Most notably, the document plainly lays out the eligibility requirements for each provision, and further, what types of initiatives suitable entities can request grant funds for.

NDIA’s guide also details the agency’s order priority for selecting those interested in accessing funds to expand broadband in underserved communities.

Richard Bates, Disney’s longtime director of government relations, dies at 70

Richard Bates, the longtime head of government relations for Disney, died December 31 at his home outside Washington, D.C. He was 70.

Bates had represented Disney in the halls of Congress and other public policy arenas since 1991.

Bates’ colleagues, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger and CEO Bob Chapek, said in a joint statement that the executive’s death was sudden and that they are “heartbroken” over Bates’ passing.

“As head of our Government Relations team in Washington, D.C., Richard was second to none in his field — widely respected for his incredible achievements and beloved for his extraordinary kindness, compassion, and irresistible wit,” Iger and Chapek wrote.

Many in the tech industry have voiced statements of commiseration.

“We have had the privilege of working closely with Richard for many years and saw up close his intelligence and leadership in representing Disney and other content creators. But beyond his many policy successes, Richard was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend to so many,” wrote Internet and Television Association President and CEO Michael Powell, in a statement.

The Media Institute, where Bates was a valued member of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2018, further expressed sorrow upon the news of his passing.

Continue Reading

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