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Digital Inclusion

Federal Communications Commission Sets C-Band Auction Procedures, Reforms Inmate Calling Service Rates

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Screenshot of the Federal Communications Commission August Open Meeting webcast

August 6, 2020 — The Federal Communications Commission established bidding procedures for a coming C-Band auction and moved to reform rates for inmate calling services during its August open meeting on Thursday.

Auction 107 will open additional C-Band spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band.

The motion initiated the agency’s second auction of mid-band spectrum, as it aims to push more spectrum into the commercial marketplace, building on efforts to implement its 5G FAST Plan.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the plan “critical to boosting economic growth, job creation and America’s global competitiveness.”

The commissioners voted in unanimous support of reforming rates and charges for inmate calling services.

As market forces do not operate over inmate calling rates, the FCC plays a critical role in ensuring these rates are reasonable and just.

“Costs are shocking,” said Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, reporting that a 15-minute call can cost anywhere from $5 –25.

“It will cost virtually all families thousands a year just to talk to an incarcerated loved one for 30 minutes a few times a week,” said Starks.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that current call rates put a strain on incarcerated individuals, their families and their children. Incarcerated individuals who have regular contact with family members and loved ones are more likely to succeed after release and have a lower re-offense rate, she added.

The legislation, which Rosenworcel said she regarded as overdue, was 17 years in the making.

Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who has long championed communications justice for the incarcerated, expressed her hope that the measure would be passed, speaking in Broadband Breakfast’s “Champions of Broadband” series Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, whose nomination to serve a third term on the agency was recently pulled by President Donald Trump, chose to pass on all of his opportunities to speak during the open meeting, instead submitting his comments to the record and appearing somewhat fearful to voice his opinions.

While no reason was given for the revocation of O’Rielly’s nomination, some have speculated that it was retaliation for how he voiced doubts about Trump’s executive order on social media.

Former Assistant Editor Jericho Casper graduated from the University of Virginia studying media policy. She grew up in Newport News in an area heavily impacted by the digital divide. She has a passion for universal access and a vendetta against anyone who stands in the way of her getting better broadband. She is now Associate Broadband Researcher at the Institute for Local Self Reliance's Community Broadband Network Initiative.

Digital Inclusion

International Data Localization Laws Harm Emerging Tech Businesses

Experts advocate a new framework that better accommodates the global tech economy by removing data localization barriers.

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Jason Oxman, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council

August 6, 2020 — The Federal Communications Commission established bidding procedures for a coming C-Band auction and moved to reform rates for inmate calling services during its August open meeting on Thursday.

Auction 107 will open additional C-Band spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band.

The motion initiated the agency’s second auction of mid-band spectrum, as it aims to push more spectrum into the commercial marketplace, building on efforts to implement its 5G FAST Plan.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the plan “critical to boosting economic growth, job creation and America’s global competitiveness.”

The commissioners voted in unanimous support of reforming rates and charges for inmate calling services.

As market forces do not operate over inmate calling rates, the FCC plays a critical role in ensuring these rates are reasonable and just.

“Costs are shocking,” said Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, reporting that a 15-minute call can cost anywhere from $5 –25.

“It will cost virtually all families thousands a year just to talk to an incarcerated loved one for 30 minutes a few times a week,” said Starks.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that current call rates put a strain on incarcerated individuals, their families and their children. Incarcerated individuals who have regular contact with family members and loved ones are more likely to succeed after release and have a lower re-offense rate, she added.

The legislation, which Rosenworcel said she regarded as overdue, was 17 years in the making.

Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who has long championed communications justice for the incarcerated, expressed her hope that the measure would be passed, speaking in Broadband Breakfast’s “Champions of Broadband” series Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, whose nomination to serve a third term on the agency was recently pulled by President Donald Trump, chose to pass on all of his opportunities to speak during the open meeting, instead submitting his comments to the record and appearing somewhat fearful to voice his opinions.

While no reason was given for the revocation of O’Rielly’s nomination, some have speculated that it was retaliation for how he voiced doubts about Trump’s executive order on social media.

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Digital Inclusion

Black Churches 4 Broadband Brings Religious Fervor to Better Internet Access

Black churches are more than spiritual gathering places: They are power centers within the Black community.

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Photo of the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 6, 2020 — The Federal Communications Commission established bidding procedures for a coming C-Band auction and moved to reform rates for inmate calling services during its August open meeting on Thursday.

Auction 107 will open additional C-Band spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band.

The motion initiated the agency’s second auction of mid-band spectrum, as it aims to push more spectrum into the commercial marketplace, building on efforts to implement its 5G FAST Plan.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the plan “critical to boosting economic growth, job creation and America’s global competitiveness.”

The commissioners voted in unanimous support of reforming rates and charges for inmate calling services.

As market forces do not operate over inmate calling rates, the FCC plays a critical role in ensuring these rates are reasonable and just.

“Costs are shocking,” said Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, reporting that a 15-minute call can cost anywhere from $5 –25.

“It will cost virtually all families thousands a year just to talk to an incarcerated loved one for 30 minutes a few times a week,” said Starks.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that current call rates put a strain on incarcerated individuals, their families and their children. Incarcerated individuals who have regular contact with family members and loved ones are more likely to succeed after release and have a lower re-offense rate, she added.

The legislation, which Rosenworcel said she regarded as overdue, was 17 years in the making.

Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who has long championed communications justice for the incarcerated, expressed her hope that the measure would be passed, speaking in Broadband Breakfast’s “Champions of Broadband” series Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, whose nomination to serve a third term on the agency was recently pulled by President Donald Trump, chose to pass on all of his opportunities to speak during the open meeting, instead submitting his comments to the record and appearing somewhat fearful to voice his opinions.

While no reason was given for the revocation of O’Rielly’s nomination, some have speculated that it was retaliation for how he voiced doubts about Trump’s executive order on social media.

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Digital Inclusion

Senators Reintroduce Bipartisan Digital Equity Act

Sen. Murray re-introduces bi-partisan that would provide grants to states pushing for digital equity.

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Patty Murray, D-Washington

August 6, 2020 — The Federal Communications Commission established bidding procedures for a coming C-Band auction and moved to reform rates for inmate calling services during its August open meeting on Thursday.

Auction 107 will open additional C-Band spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band.

The motion initiated the agency’s second auction of mid-band spectrum, as it aims to push more spectrum into the commercial marketplace, building on efforts to implement its 5G FAST Plan.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the plan “critical to boosting economic growth, job creation and America’s global competitiveness.”

The commissioners voted in unanimous support of reforming rates and charges for inmate calling services.

As market forces do not operate over inmate calling rates, the FCC plays a critical role in ensuring these rates are reasonable and just.

“Costs are shocking,” said Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, reporting that a 15-minute call can cost anywhere from $5 –25.

“It will cost virtually all families thousands a year just to talk to an incarcerated loved one for 30 minutes a few times a week,” said Starks.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that current call rates put a strain on incarcerated individuals, their families and their children. Incarcerated individuals who have regular contact with family members and loved ones are more likely to succeed after release and have a lower re-offense rate, she added.

The legislation, which Rosenworcel said she regarded as overdue, was 17 years in the making.

Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who has long championed communications justice for the incarcerated, expressed her hope that the measure would be passed, speaking in Broadband Breakfast’s “Champions of Broadband” series Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, whose nomination to serve a third term on the agency was recently pulled by President Donald Trump, chose to pass on all of his opportunities to speak during the open meeting, instead submitting his comments to the record and appearing somewhat fearful to voice his opinions.

While no reason was given for the revocation of O’Rielly’s nomination, some have speculated that it was retaliation for how he voiced doubts about Trump’s executive order on social media.

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