FCC and FTC Announce Open Meeting Agendas and AT&T Signs Deal with OneWeb

The FCC outlines September meeting agenda, the FTC will review big tech mergers this month, AT&T signs deal with OneWeb.

FCC and FTC Announce Open Meeting Agendas and AT&T Signs Deal with OneWeb
FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan

September 9, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission announced its September 30 open meeting will dive into issues including repurposing airwaves for public safety and 5G, internet of things and robocalls.

The commission said Wednesday that it will discuss resiliency on networks to ensure 911 failures are minimal, coming on the heels of the devastating Hurricane Ida; converting the 4.9 GHz spectrum band for 5G and first responders; meeting consumer demand for faster and better WiFi; trying to better understand the “current and future spectrum needs” of internet of things devices; connecting Tribal libraries; strengthening the security review of companies with foreign ownership; and shielding 911 call centers from robocalls and overall cracking down on the illegal calls.

The agency has addressed the need to institute stronger protections against foreign risks, has implemented measures to limit robocalls, has taken steps to ease regulatory restrictions in the wake of the hurricane, and has addressed the need to support Tribal libraries.

FTC next open meeting to include findings on Big Tech mergers

The Federal Trade Commission has also announced Wednesday that its next open meeting on September 15 will include staff findings on Big Tech’s acquisitions of smaller companies.

“Staff will present some findings from the Commission’s inquiry into large technology platforms’ unreported acquisitions, including an analysis of the structure of deals that customarily fly under enforces’ radar,” a notice on the FTC website said.

The commission, which is chaired by Biden appointee and past critic of Big Tech Lina Khan, has drawn the ire of large technology companies that say that Khan should recuse herself of FTC reviews of its deals because of her past statements.

The House is currently sitting on six antitrust bills targeting Big Tech that would, among other things, provide greater federal enforcement measures to address competition issues.

The FTC’s September 15 meeting will also address issues related to privacy breachers by health apps and connected devices.

AT&T signs service deal with OneWeb

AT&T has signed an agreement with OneWeb, the low earth orbit satellite company, that will see the telecom leverage satellite technology to “improve access for AT&T business customers into remote and challenging geographic locations,” a Wednesday press release said.

The deal, whose financial details were not disclosed, will serve as a complement to AT&T’s existing technologies, the release said. AT&T said the deal will mean its business and government customers in Alaska and northern U.S. states will be covered later this year. Last month, the telecom won a $609-million contract with the State Department.

OneWeb, which was only recently facing financial difficulty in the expensive space business, was rejuvenated in April, when French satellite company Eutelsat purchased a 24 percent stake in the company. Then in May, the company announced that it had won a contract from the United States Air Force.

The satellite company has launched 288 satellites and expects to have global coverage with a total fleet of 648 satellites by the end of 2022, the release said.

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