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Senate Version of Stimulus Bill Has $2 Billion For Cybersecurity, Telecom Transparency, SpaceX Pilot

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Photo of the U.S. Senate

March 9, 2021 – The Senate’s approved version of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill includes nearly $2 billion for cybersecurity and technology modernization programs.

Of the $2 billion, half will go toward the Technology Modernization Fund, intended to help the federal government launch new cyber and information technology programs; $650 million will go to support the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency increase its risk mitigation services; and $200 million will go to allow for the hiring of hundreds of experts to support the federal Chief Information Security Officer and U.S. Digital Service.

The money is the largest amount ever pledged to the Technology Modernization Fund, which disburses money for projects that make secure delivery of services to the public. To date, the fund has received $175 million from Congress, according to its website.

The Senate-passed bill, which is expected to be passed when it fields a vote from the House on Tuesday,  comes following the SolarWinds hack that is the subject of a Senate hearing.

The funding is shy of President Joe Biden’s cybersecurity funding proposal, which was part of his American Rescue Plan on his first day in office.

“In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, we also face a crisis when it comes to the nation’s cybersecurity. The recent cybersecurity breaches of federal government data systems underscore the importance and urgency of strengthening U.S. cybersecurity capabilities,” the plan said.

“President Biden is calling on Congress to launch the most ambitious effort ever to modernize and secure federal IT and networks. To remediate the SolarWinds breach and boost U.S. defenses.”

Telecom sale transparency bill introduced

Representative Angie Craig, D-Minn, introduced The Broadband Consumer Transparency Act of 2021 on Thursday to provide consumers with transparent information on broadband services available in the marketplace.

This bill would require sellers of broadband services to display information in a uniform and transparent manner at the point of sale to allow consumers to easily compare plans and understand what they are purchasing, and to protect consumers from unexpected or hidden fees, a press release said.

“Internet service providers are not transparent with consumers. Ask any customer of major telecom internet providers, and you are likely to hear complaints of hidden fees, surprise bills, and dense contracts,” said Joshua Stager, deputy director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.

“Congresswoman Craig’s bill cuts through this confusion by establishing truth-in-billing for broadband service. This bill is urgently needed as millions of people rely on the internet to work, learn, and live during the pandemic. Congress should pass this legislation as soon as possible. People need to know what they are paying for.”

Craig said the Act “would require detailed disclosures in an easily understandable format to help consumers better understand the services they are purchasing and protect against hidden fees and sub-standard internet performance. With record investments in broadband connectivity, including the Emergency Broadband Benefit, it is more important now than ever that we have accurate data to understand the true cost of internet services.”

The bill would require the following:

  • Price: Price points, including various charges like overage, equipment, early termination, and administrative fees.
  • Data Allowances: This is the carrier-defined plan limit after which consumers will face some consequences, such as additional charges or slowed data speeds.
  • Performance: Broadband speed and other performance metrics

Satellite internet pilot program to students in North Carolina

A pilot program created to improve students’ remote learning during the pandemic will launch in two North Carolina counties.

The program is funded by $200,000 in CARES Act Funding from The North Carolina Department of Information Technology and $64,000 in CARES Act Funding from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Beside funding, the partners are also assisting the school districts with implementing the “Satellite Internet Technologies for Student Connectivity Pilot,” which will allow students to access Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s, also known as SpaceX, Starlink internet service.

In a statement, Governor Roy Cooper said “innovative programs like this pilot with SpaceX can connect students and residents to high-quality, reliable internet service to help with remote learning, telehealth, job opportunities, and more.”

Starlink provides high-speed internet service via low earth orbit satellite technology. Through the pilot, school districts will test the feasibility of the service for K-12 students who live in areas with no broadband infrastructure or reliable cellular service.

Broadband Roundup

Infrastructure Bill Gets Agreement, Fiber Connect Wraps Up, Washington Community Broadband

White House announced infrastructure bill to include $65B, Fiber Connect 2021 wraps up, Washington State community broadband bill becomes law.

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March 9, 2021 – The Senate’s approved version of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill includes nearly $2 billion for cybersecurity and technology modernization programs.

Of the $2 billion, half will go toward the Technology Modernization Fund, intended to help the federal government launch new cyber and information technology programs; $650 million will go to support the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency increase its risk mitigation services; and $200 million will go to allow for the hiring of hundreds of experts to support the federal Chief Information Security Officer and U.S. Digital Service.

The money is the largest amount ever pledged to the Technology Modernization Fund, which disburses money for projects that make secure delivery of services to the public. To date, the fund has received $175 million from Congress, according to its website.

The Senate-passed bill, which is expected to be passed when it fields a vote from the House on Tuesday,  comes following the SolarWinds hack that is the subject of a Senate hearing.

The funding is shy of President Joe Biden’s cybersecurity funding proposal, which was part of his American Rescue Plan on his first day in office.

“In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, we also face a crisis when it comes to the nation’s cybersecurity. The recent cybersecurity breaches of federal government data systems underscore the importance and urgency of strengthening U.S. cybersecurity capabilities,” the plan said.

“President Biden is calling on Congress to launch the most ambitious effort ever to modernize and secure federal IT and networks. To remediate the SolarWinds breach and boost U.S. defenses.”

Telecom sale transparency bill introduced

Representative Angie Craig, D-Minn, introduced The Broadband Consumer Transparency Act of 2021 on Thursday to provide consumers with transparent information on broadband services available in the marketplace.

This bill would require sellers of broadband services to display information in a uniform and transparent manner at the point of sale to allow consumers to easily compare plans and understand what they are purchasing, and to protect consumers from unexpected or hidden fees, a press release said.

“Internet service providers are not transparent with consumers. Ask any customer of major telecom internet providers, and you are likely to hear complaints of hidden fees, surprise bills, and dense contracts,” said Joshua Stager, deputy director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.

“Congresswoman Craig’s bill cuts through this confusion by establishing truth-in-billing for broadband service. This bill is urgently needed as millions of people rely on the internet to work, learn, and live during the pandemic. Congress should pass this legislation as soon as possible. People need to know what they are paying for.”

Craig said the Act “would require detailed disclosures in an easily understandable format to help consumers better understand the services they are purchasing and protect against hidden fees and sub-standard internet performance. With record investments in broadband connectivity, including the Emergency Broadband Benefit, it is more important now than ever that we have accurate data to understand the true cost of internet services.”

The bill would require the following:

  • Price: Price points, including various charges like overage, equipment, early termination, and administrative fees.
  • Data Allowances: This is the carrier-defined plan limit after which consumers will face some consequences, such as additional charges or slowed data speeds.
  • Performance: Broadband speed and other performance metrics

Satellite internet pilot program to students in North Carolina

A pilot program created to improve students’ remote learning during the pandemic will launch in two North Carolina counties.

The program is funded by $200,000 in CARES Act Funding from The North Carolina Department of Information Technology and $64,000 in CARES Act Funding from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Beside funding, the partners are also assisting the school districts with implementing the “Satellite Internet Technologies for Student Connectivity Pilot,” which will allow students to access Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s, also known as SpaceX, Starlink internet service.

In a statement, Governor Roy Cooper said “innovative programs like this pilot with SpaceX can connect students and residents to high-quality, reliable internet service to help with remote learning, telehealth, job opportunities, and more.”

Starlink provides high-speed internet service via low earth orbit satellite technology. Through the pilot, school districts will test the feasibility of the service for K-12 students who live in areas with no broadband infrastructure or reliable cellular service.

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Broadband Roundup

FCC Says 4M on Emergency Broadband Benefit, Ritter Puts $12M in Arkansas, New STL Cabling Product

$3.2-billion program has 4 million households, Ritter to connect 100% in river valley, STL efficient cables.

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Ritter Communications CEO Alan Morse, left.

March 9, 2021 – The Senate’s approved version of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill includes nearly $2 billion for cybersecurity and technology modernization programs.

Of the $2 billion, half will go toward the Technology Modernization Fund, intended to help the federal government launch new cyber and information technology programs; $650 million will go to support the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency increase its risk mitigation services; and $200 million will go to allow for the hiring of hundreds of experts to support the federal Chief Information Security Officer and U.S. Digital Service.

The money is the largest amount ever pledged to the Technology Modernization Fund, which disburses money for projects that make secure delivery of services to the public. To date, the fund has received $175 million from Congress, according to its website.

The Senate-passed bill, which is expected to be passed when it fields a vote from the House on Tuesday,  comes following the SolarWinds hack that is the subject of a Senate hearing.

The funding is shy of President Joe Biden’s cybersecurity funding proposal, which was part of his American Rescue Plan on his first day in office.

“In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, we also face a crisis when it comes to the nation’s cybersecurity. The recent cybersecurity breaches of federal government data systems underscore the importance and urgency of strengthening U.S. cybersecurity capabilities,” the plan said.

“President Biden is calling on Congress to launch the most ambitious effort ever to modernize and secure federal IT and networks. To remediate the SolarWinds breach and boost U.S. defenses.”

Telecom sale transparency bill introduced

Representative Angie Craig, D-Minn, introduced The Broadband Consumer Transparency Act of 2021 on Thursday to provide consumers with transparent information on broadband services available in the marketplace.

This bill would require sellers of broadband services to display information in a uniform and transparent manner at the point of sale to allow consumers to easily compare plans and understand what they are purchasing, and to protect consumers from unexpected or hidden fees, a press release said.

“Internet service providers are not transparent with consumers. Ask any customer of major telecom internet providers, and you are likely to hear complaints of hidden fees, surprise bills, and dense contracts,” said Joshua Stager, deputy director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.

“Congresswoman Craig’s bill cuts through this confusion by establishing truth-in-billing for broadband service. This bill is urgently needed as millions of people rely on the internet to work, learn, and live during the pandemic. Congress should pass this legislation as soon as possible. People need to know what they are paying for.”

Craig said the Act “would require detailed disclosures in an easily understandable format to help consumers better understand the services they are purchasing and protect against hidden fees and sub-standard internet performance. With record investments in broadband connectivity, including the Emergency Broadband Benefit, it is more important now than ever that we have accurate data to understand the true cost of internet services.”

The bill would require the following:

  • Price: Price points, including various charges like overage, equipment, early termination, and administrative fees.
  • Data Allowances: This is the carrier-defined plan limit after which consumers will face some consequences, such as additional charges or slowed data speeds.
  • Performance: Broadband speed and other performance metrics

Satellite internet pilot program to students in North Carolina

A pilot program created to improve students’ remote learning during the pandemic will launch in two North Carolina counties.

The program is funded by $200,000 in CARES Act Funding from The North Carolina Department of Information Technology and $64,000 in CARES Act Funding from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Beside funding, the partners are also assisting the school districts with implementing the “Satellite Internet Technologies for Student Connectivity Pilot,” which will allow students to access Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s, also known as SpaceX, Starlink internet service.

In a statement, Governor Roy Cooper said “innovative programs like this pilot with SpaceX can connect students and residents to high-quality, reliable internet service to help with remote learning, telehealth, job opportunities, and more.”

Starlink provides high-speed internet service via low earth orbit satellite technology. Through the pilot, school districts will test the feasibility of the service for K-12 students who live in areas with no broadband infrastructure or reliable cellular service.

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

New York Drops $15 Internet, Lumen Gets Army Contract, Illinois Signs Telehealth Bill

New York drops $15 internet after interim court decision, Lumen gets army contract for broadband, Illinois allows telehealth for all.

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March 9, 2021 – The Senate’s approved version of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill includes nearly $2 billion for cybersecurity and technology modernization programs.

Of the $2 billion, half will go toward the Technology Modernization Fund, intended to help the federal government launch new cyber and information technology programs; $650 million will go to support the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency increase its risk mitigation services; and $200 million will go to allow for the hiring of hundreds of experts to support the federal Chief Information Security Officer and U.S. Digital Service.

The money is the largest amount ever pledged to the Technology Modernization Fund, which disburses money for projects that make secure delivery of services to the public. To date, the fund has received $175 million from Congress, according to its website.

The Senate-passed bill, which is expected to be passed when it fields a vote from the House on Tuesday,  comes following the SolarWinds hack that is the subject of a Senate hearing.

The funding is shy of President Joe Biden’s cybersecurity funding proposal, which was part of his American Rescue Plan on his first day in office.

“In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, we also face a crisis when it comes to the nation’s cybersecurity. The recent cybersecurity breaches of federal government data systems underscore the importance and urgency of strengthening U.S. cybersecurity capabilities,” the plan said.

“President Biden is calling on Congress to launch the most ambitious effort ever to modernize and secure federal IT and networks. To remediate the SolarWinds breach and boost U.S. defenses.”

Telecom sale transparency bill introduced

Representative Angie Craig, D-Minn, introduced The Broadband Consumer Transparency Act of 2021 on Thursday to provide consumers with transparent information on broadband services available in the marketplace.

This bill would require sellers of broadband services to display information in a uniform and transparent manner at the point of sale to allow consumers to easily compare plans and understand what they are purchasing, and to protect consumers from unexpected or hidden fees, a press release said.

“Internet service providers are not transparent with consumers. Ask any customer of major telecom internet providers, and you are likely to hear complaints of hidden fees, surprise bills, and dense contracts,” said Joshua Stager, deputy director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.

“Congresswoman Craig’s bill cuts through this confusion by establishing truth-in-billing for broadband service. This bill is urgently needed as millions of people rely on the internet to work, learn, and live during the pandemic. Congress should pass this legislation as soon as possible. People need to know what they are paying for.”

Craig said the Act “would require detailed disclosures in an easily understandable format to help consumers better understand the services they are purchasing and protect against hidden fees and sub-standard internet performance. With record investments in broadband connectivity, including the Emergency Broadband Benefit, it is more important now than ever that we have accurate data to understand the true cost of internet services.”

The bill would require the following:

  • Price: Price points, including various charges like overage, equipment, early termination, and administrative fees.
  • Data Allowances: This is the carrier-defined plan limit after which consumers will face some consequences, such as additional charges or slowed data speeds.
  • Performance: Broadband speed and other performance metrics

Satellite internet pilot program to students in North Carolina

A pilot program created to improve students’ remote learning during the pandemic will launch in two North Carolina counties.

The program is funded by $200,000 in CARES Act Funding from The North Carolina Department of Information Technology and $64,000 in CARES Act Funding from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Beside funding, the partners are also assisting the school districts with implementing the “Satellite Internet Technologies for Student Connectivity Pilot,” which will allow students to access Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s, also known as SpaceX, Starlink internet service.

In a statement, Governor Roy Cooper said “innovative programs like this pilot with SpaceX can connect students and residents to high-quality, reliable internet service to help with remote learning, telehealth, job opportunities, and more.”

Starlink provides high-speed internet service via low earth orbit satellite technology. Through the pilot, school districts will test the feasibility of the service for K-12 students who live in areas with no broadband infrastructure or reliable cellular service.

Continue Reading

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