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12 Days of Broadband

Gigi Sohn’s Political Purgatory and the Prospect of Reintroducing Net Neutrality Rules in 2023

If Sohn is sworn in, it would break the FCC’s party deadlock and allow the Democrats to potentially bring back net neutrality.

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From the 12 Days of Broadband:

November’s midterm elections saw the Democrats hold on to power in the Senate, where executive and judicial appointments are confirmed. But Democrats also held to power in the previous term, yet the upper chamber did not hold votes on the prospective fifth commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, Democrat Gigi Sohn.

Sohn, who was nominated by President Joe Biden in October 2021, has been in a bit of a political purgatory since making it through the Senate commerce committee in March. Former FCC commissioners were concerned about her prospects of making it to Senate votes before the midterms, with the lingering possibility that the Republicans would win the chamber and nuke her nomination over concerns that she would not be able to remain non-partisan on the issues the FCC addresses.

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Managing Editor Ahmad Hathout has spent the last half-decade reporting on the Canadian telecommunications and media industries for leading publications. He started the scoop-driven news site downup.io to make Canadian telecom news more accessible and digestible. Follow him on Twitter @ackmet.

12 Days of Broadband

State Broadband Offices Face Major Challenges With Limited Resources

State officials are responsible for the disbursal of federal broadband infrastructure funds, but many offices are understaffed.

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Graphic courtesy of Zenzen / Adobe Stock

From the 12 Days of Broadband:

State broadband officials must administer funding programs, build broadband availability maps, promote digital equity, coordinate with federal agencies, and much more. They have consistently argued that engaging robust staking engagement and diverse partnerships is indispensable to their success.

Although the bulk of the broadband industry’s scrutiny is now directed federal government, the source of what many experts call a “once-in-a-generation” investment in broadband infrastructure, once those grants are issued to the states, state officials must plan and oversee the final disbursal of those funds.

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12 Days of Broadband

Legislators Discuss Banning TikTok Over Growing Security Concerns

The Senate recently passed a measure banning the app from government devices.

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Graphic courtesy of Paitoonpati / Adobe Stock

From the 12 Days of Broadband:

Year by year, tensions between the U.S. and China continue to grow. And in this Cold War 2.0, the battle over information technology and policy often appears to be at the heart of the conflict.

Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei has been effectively barred from the U.S. market for well over a year. But the constraints are tightening. And while Huawei has been central to China’s global communications aspirations, disputes over technology are now affecting all sorts of Chinese-owned companies. Even ByteDance’s TikTok, arguably the world’s hottest social media company with more than 100 million U.S. users, now appears in jeopardy.

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12 Days of Broadband

Will Congress Permanently Extend the Affordable Connectivity Program?

The program is helping low-income households afford internet access, but some experts warn that the fund will soon be depleted.

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From the 12 Days of Broadband:

Some say that people are not enrolling in the Federal Communications Commission’s new subsidy for low-income households, the Affordable Connectivity Program. Others say that at the rate people are subscribing, the fund will soon run out of money.  

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Dec. 13, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance warned that the ACP is at risk of being deplenished. “Unless Congress takes action, this vital program will go away in just a few short years,” said the nonprofit’s executive director Angela Siefer at the hearing.

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