FCC Advisory Committee Gets Extension, E-Space Adds to Ranks, Think Tank Wants Big Tech in USF

The FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, which provides guidance to the commission, has term extended two months.

FCC Advisory Committee Gets Extension, E-Space Adds to Ranks, Think Tank Wants Big Tech in USF
Screenshot of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

August 24, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission said it in a notice on Monday that it is extending the term of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, which provides guidance and recommendations on communications issues to the commission.

The IAC’s term was set to expire on September 22, but was extended by two months to November 22, according to a public notice.

“The IAC has been an important source of information and guidance to the Commission over the past 20 years and the extension will provide additional time to further its contributions to the FCC,” the notice said.

E-Space adds executives to ranks

Low-earth orbit satellite provider E-Space announced Wednesday the addition of two new executives to its ranks.

Gunjan Murarka was named chief financial officer and Dalibor Djuran was hired as the chief satellite systems engineer.

“The addition of these two valuable positions will enable E-Space to accelerate its novel LEO network, which will be both the safest satellite constellation ever, and make space affordable and accessible for everyone to solve problems on Earth,” a press release said.

Murarka previously worked as a CFO with aerospace company LeoStella, while Djuran previously held the role of director of satellite manufacturing at earth imaging company Planets Labs.

The news comes as the LEO space heats up. As SpaceX’s Starlink constellation has thousands of satellites in the sky, Amazon is preparing its own constellation of over 3,000 satellites under the Project Kuiper moniker.

Think tank suggests Congress act on FCC authority over USF

The Free State Foundation has reiterated a recommendation Tuesday that Congress allow the Federal Communications Commission to expand the contribution base to include big technology companies for a fund that provides basic telecommunications services to rural and low-income areas.

The think tank had previously recommended in a submission to the FCC that it should expand the contribution base of the Universal Service Fund, a nearly $10-billion fund that relies on dwindling voice service revenues, to include big technology companies that rely on the internet, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

Since that submission, which was part of the commission’s proceeding on the future of the USF, the FCC released its report on the matter last week, recommending that Congress institute changes to its mandate that would allow it to make the necessary changes to the contribution base. That included the possibility to expand the base to include those big technology companies.

“Requiring Internet companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, and Twitter to pay into the USF may be the best way to ensure future universal broadband service for Americans who have low incomes or live in areas that are difficult and more costly to serve,” the FSF said in a blog post on Tuesday.

One way it suggests is for “Congress to pass legislation that authorizes the Commission to require universal service contributions from online companies that generate the most Internet traffic as well as the most revenues via universally-accessible broadband networks.”

Another approach, it suggested, is a bill that would require the FCC to report to Congress on the feasibility of requiring contributions from online services like search engines, social media platforms, streaming media content, app stores, cloud computing, and e-commerce platforms.

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