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FCC

Pilot Program Will Target Child Mental Health and Maternal Mortality Rates, FCC Says

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2019 — Among the items passed unanimously at the Federal Communications Commission July 10 meeting was the creation of a three-year, $100 million pilot program to support the delivery of telehealth services to rural and low-income Americans. “From chronic disease management to pediatric cardiology, from PTSD to opioid dependency, this pilot has… Keep Reading

On Spectrum Policy, Congress May Step Between the FCC and Commerce Department’s NTIA

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2019 — Differences between the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration have gotten to the point that Congress may need to get more involved in the spectrum allocation process, legislators said Tuesday at a House subcommittee hearing. Coordination between federal agencies is an essential component of… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: FCC Spends $524 Million for Rural Area as House Subcommittee Highlights Problem, New Public Knowledge CEO

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced more than $524 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband access to 205,520 unserved rural homes and businesses in 23 states. Providers will begin receiving funding this month. “High-speed Internet provides access to opportunity in the 21st century, and the FCC’s top priority is closing… Keep Reading

Congress/FCC/FTC/Media/Privacy

Harold Feld Argues That Increased Regulation Will Be More Successful than Breaking Up Big Tech

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2019 — Rather than seeking to break up big technology giants, Congress should instead focus on ratcheting up regulation of the online platform players to curb their greatest abuses, public interest advocate Harold Feld argued on Monday. Feld, the author of the recent e-book, “The Case for the Digital Platform Act: Market… Keep Reading

FCC Blasted Over Party-Line Decision to Take Education Out of Educational Broadband Spectrum

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 — Ignoring recommendations from the Department of Education, several members of Congress, and various broadband advocates, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday to hold commercial auctions for unused portions of the 2.5 Gigahertz spectrum band. The decision removes the educational use requirement for the band and fails to provide… Keep Reading

Government Must Adapt to New Opportunities in Commercial Space Sector, Says FCC Chair Ajit Pai

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 - With changes in the space industry, the U.S. government needs to evolve to capitalize on the “unprecedented opportunity for the commercial space sector,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Tuesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Pai emphasized the FCC’s commitment to craft forward-looking rules that safeguard the public… Keep Reading

For 5G, Panelists Favor Limiting Local Control over Rights-of-Way and Not Reinstating Net Neutrality Rules

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2019 — The successful growth of 5G networks will be best achieved through limiting municipalities’ control over wireless infrastructure and not reinstating rules that would require network neutrality, according to a Monday panel of the Digital Policy Institute, an organization affiliated with Ball State University. Although the government plays an important role,… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Consumer Groups Oppose Project Libra, Comcast on Shapefile Mapping, Windstream Goes Wireless

The Hill reports that dozens of consumer advocacy groups have called for congressional committees and regulatory agencies to impose a moratorium on Facebook’s cryptocurrency project. Among the 33 groups include Public Citizen, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Digital Democracy. In their letter the groups wrote that the… Keep Reading

Techies Tout Plan to Share the C-Band and Bring High-Speed Wireless Access to Millions

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2019 — About 80 million Americans in unserved or underserved locations could receive gigabit broadband access through spectrum sharing without harming existing operations, according to research conducted by Jeffrey Reed, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Reed presented a summary of the study results at a press event on… Keep Reading

Removing Chinese Telecommunications Equipment From U.S. Broadband Networks Would Cost More Than $1 Billion

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2019 – When it comes to removing Huawei or ZTE telecommunications equipment from U.S. broadband networks, a strategy of “rip and place” would cost well over $1 billion. Rural broadband carriers don’t have the budget for that, and they are concerned that the costs of a retrofit would delay the deployment of… Keep Reading

House Subcommittee Approves Bill Banning Robocalls, Advancing Popular Measure to Full Committee

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2019 — Following the Federal Communications Commission’s recent order against robocalls, for added measure the House Energy & Commerce Committee Communications Subcommittee voted on Tuesday to approve a legislative measure against robocalls. The bill, known as the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” will require the FCC to revise rules under the Telephone Consumer… Keep Reading

Federal Communications Commissioner O’Rielly Defends Budget Cap on Universal Service Fund

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2019- A budget cap to the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Fund will provide “plenty for all,” said FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly Tuesday. The fund is currently paid for through fees imposed by consumers’ phone bills with four sub-programs dedicated to specific groups: high-cost areas, low-income consumers, schools and libraries, and rural… Keep Reading

On Educational Broadband, Critics Say FCC’s ‘Unfathomable’ Proposal Will Widen Digital Divide

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2019 — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposed order to permit auction of portions of the 2.5 Gigahertz (GHz) spectrum band has drawn criticism from many outside the agency, including several members of Congress and even the U.S. Department of Education in the Trump administration. The draft order would eliminate the… Keep Reading

US Telecom Touts Progress in Weaving a ‘Fabric’ for Address-Level Broadband Mapping

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2019 – In tackling the nettlesome question of improving broadband mapping, the telecom industry group US Telecom on Thursday showcased recent progress in their pilot program to better detect broadband serviceability. The discussion on a 45-minute webinar focused on how the initiative, by the trade group and others, including ITTA and the… Keep Reading

Multiple Pieces of Broadband Legislation Moving Forward in Congress, on Data, Funding, Rural Broadband and Digital Equity

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2019 – At least a half-dozen separate pieces of broadband legislation are working their way through Congress, and panelists assembled by the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition on Wednesday commented on the pros and cons of how these bills would deploy broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of the country. The… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Gigi Sohn on Wireless Mergers, Utah Ignite Lunch Launch, and New Global Crypto-Currencies

The political turmoil and guess-manship over the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger continues, with 10 state attorney generals filing a lawsuit in New York last week in a federal district court. Unusually, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice did not join the lawsuit. It’s not the first thing that’s unusual about this particular merger review.… Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Aims to Further Deploy 2.5 GHz Band of Spectrum for 5G Wireless Networks

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2019 — The Federal Communications Commission will vote in July on whether or not to auction off unused portions of the 2.5 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum band to advance the deployment of 5G wireless networks. Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that the order would “modernize an outdated regulatory regime” and “give… Keep Reading

Digital Accessibility Improving, but People with Disabilities Still Seek More Inclusive Access

ARLINGTON, Virginia - June 18, 2019 – Comprehensive legislation addressing accessibility is necessary to ensure that information technology is available to a wider group of people, particularly to people with disabilities, said panelists speaking at the M-Enabling Summit here on Tuesday. Innovations involving wireless 5G technologies, for example, use multiple bandwidths including mid-band and low-band,… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: SiFi Proposes Open-Access Network in Lowell, Ajit Pai on Broadband Farming

SiFi Networks has offered to install and maintain a new fiber optic network in Lowell, Massachusetts—at no cost to the city. This infrastructure would pave the way for new internet service providers to compete with Comcast, which is currently the main internet provider within the city. “Increasing competition is one of the best ways to… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Controversy Around 24 Gigahertz, Plus Rural Calls and Networks

The Federal Communications Commission’s recent auction of the 24 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum has been criticized by both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. One of the concerns raised by NOAA and NASA is the potential for interference with adjacent bands that collect important weather data by using microwave… Keep Reading

FCC/Privacy

Robocall Anger Will Force Calling Companies to Adjust Expectations, Says FCC Enforcement Bureau

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2019 — Companies whose legally-placed robocalls are blocked under the June 6 order of the Federal Communications Commission may need to adjust their perception of consumer expectations, a top Enforcement Bureau chief at the Federal Communications Commission said last week. Indeed, the popular backlash against robocalls is forcing all facets of the… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Congress Considers Plans to Improve Mapping, AT&T Launches 5G Phone

After wide bipartisan acknowledgement that broadband map currently being used by the Federal Communications Commission is wildly inaccurate, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has introduced the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act, urging the FCC to halt decisions on broadband funding until more accurate data is available. The bill will require the FCC to gather… Keep Reading

FCC Leaders Praise Importance of Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee In Spite of Narrowed Agenda

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2019 — Members of the Federal Communications Commission’s newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Commission touted the importance of the body at its first meeting on Thursday, even as its scope appears to have narrowed to issues around recovering from disaster communications and a few other topics. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and BDAC Chair Elizabeth… Keep Reading

FCC/Net Neutrality/Senate

Three Democratic Senators Came Not to Bury the FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules, But to Praise Them

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2019 - A trio of Democratic senators on Tuesday called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on legislation to roll back the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of network neutrality regulations put in place during the Obama administration. Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.,… Keep Reading

US Telecom Touts Broadband Investment; Industry and FCC Chairman Pai Link Growth to Deregulatory Policies

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2019 — U.S. investment in broadband networks grew by approximately $3 billion in 2018, according to data released Monday by US Telecom. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said this is a result of “reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens” and updating rules “to match the modern communications marketplace.” “We made it easier for… Keep Reading

Federal Communications Commission Votes to Allow Carriers to Block Robocallers By Default

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2019 — Telecommunications providers can now block robocalls by default, according to a Federal Communications Commission ruling on Thursday. In principle, the measure had bipartisan support. But Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel dissented in part because the order didn’t require phone service providers to offer call blocking for free. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s partial dissent… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: NTIA Database on Federal Projects Released, FCC’s Carr Visits Montana and Wyoming, and New Broadband Study

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a comprehensive database of federal broadband programs on Monday. (See also this PDF for the 109-page guide of programs.) The database was created under the American Broadband Initiative’s mandate to expand connectivity for all Americans. The database includes information about billions of dollars in potential grants and loans from several… Keep Reading

Is Broadband Coverage Getting Better? FCC Critics Say Agency Data is Part of the Problem

The divide between rural and urban internet access has “narrowed substantially,” according to an annual report recently released by the FCC. However, The Verge reported that several experts are debating the accuracy of this data. The report is based on data provided from service providers, which may overstate availability or be otherwise incorrect. One minor… Keep Reading

Press Release: Benton Foundation Opposes Proposal to Cap Fund to Close Digital Divide

On May 31, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes imposing an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund. USF programs provide subsidies that make telecommunications and broadband services more available and affordable for millions of Americans. The following may be attributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B.… Keep Reading

Verizon’s Throttling of Santa Clara County Firefighters Discussed by Panel of Net Neutrality Advocates

May 31, 2019 – Verizon Wireless’ slowdown of the Santa Clara County Fire Department’s data plan had a “significant impact” on the department’s ability to respond to last year’s wildfires, according to testimony by Fire Chief Anthony Bowden that featured prominently in a Thursday discussion at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. The incident… Keep Reading

Asia/FCC/zBroadband News

Commerce Department Grants 90-Day Reprieve From Huawei Ban, Cites Impact on Rural Broadband Networks

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: On Monday, a mere five days after placing Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei on the "Entity List" of effectively banned companies, the Trump administration signaled a (temporary) reprieve: Effective Monday, U.S. manufacturers will have 90 days in which to find alternatives to Huawei: “The Temporary General License grants operators time to make other… Keep Reading

Why States and the Federal Government Alike Are Honing in on Broadband Data and Broadband Access

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: This OpEd last week highlights the importance of broadband data and mapping, the variety of efforts underway to address inadequacies in our informational base, plus the broadband coordination currently going on in the federal government, and among many of the state governments. Of particular note, later in the articles, is the way it highlights… Keep Reading

Senators Capito and Hassan Re-Introduce the Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Together with her Democratic colleague Sen. Maggie Hassan, Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Friday introduced legislation designed to establish a national standard that would govern the Federal Communications Commission's determination about whether mobile and broadband services in rural areas are "reasonably comparable" to service provided in urban areas. Capito has also recently introduced a… Keep Reading

New Broadband Deployment Advisory Commission of FCC Aims to Avoid Pitfalls of Last Body

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday released the names of 32 officials selected for the newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Commission. The new BDAC, which will have its first meeting on June 13, 2019, at 9:30 a.m., may avoid one of the most widely-criticized aspects of the prior entity: A lack of local government representation.… Keep Reading

Time to Focus on California Legislation That Affects Infrastructure Access to Rights-of-Way and Conduit, says EFF

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: California, and many other states, have muscled their way onto the national broadband stage. They've done this through legislation that would either require net neutrality protections that the Federal Communications Commission removed in December 2017, or use state purchase power to require that selected Internet Service Providers commit to neutrality principles, or… Keep Reading

Michael O’Rielly: Substantive Objections to a Government 5G Wholesale Network

Over the last few months, various ideas have been floated about the offering of 5G wireless services via a government-sponsored network. This entire effort seems convoluted and borders on the preposterous. Just the notion of the U.S. moving away from the highly-successful, private-sector led approach that is responsible for our country's premier position globally would… Keep Reading

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