Ocean Shipping Reform Act, New Mexico Seeks Fiber Alternatives, Kentucky Broadband Subsidy Uptake

Congress “took a big step” toward improving supply chain and “addressing serious cost increases.”

Ocean Shipping Reform Act, New Mexico Seeks Fiber Alternatives, Kentucky Broadband Subsidy Uptake
Gary Shapiro, Consumer Technology Association President

December 9, 2021 — The Consumer Technology Association applauded the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage Wednesday of the Ocean Shopping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA).

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, said on Wednesday that Congress “took a big step” toward improving our supply chain and “addressing serious cost increases” for consumers.

“The ten largest shipping companies in the world—none of them American—control 80% of the shipping market. As American businesses struggle to ensure the availability of goods on shelves, ocean shippers have been exploiting supply chain challenges for an exorbitant profit.  They are leveraging port delays to impose exorbitant fees for time that containers spend waiting to be unloaded, even when those containers cannot yet access the port. These penalties drive inflation and harm U.S. businesses, workers and consumers.  More, ocean shippers are refusing to load and carry U.S. exports, preferring to quickly return containers across the ocean for the more lucrative Asia – U.S. route.”

CTA believes passing OSRA will “put an end to ocean shipper abuses and misbehavior” by allowing manufacturers to export at lower costs and Americans to buy the tech products they love and rely on at reasonable prices.”

New Mexico lawmakers want alternative broadband

New Mexico lawmakers want $100 million for methods other than fiber to help connect the state.

On Wednesday, the state legislature debated the allocation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that would allocate $1 billion in federal aid to the state. The state already allocated $650 million to replenish the state’s unemployment fund.

As an alternative to fiber cables, alternative broadband refers to internet delivery systems using an array of technologies such as wireless, television broadcasts, and satellites.

The remaining funds would allocate $150 million for expanding internet infrastructure, including the $100 million for alternative broadband.

Kentucky leads in broadband subsidy adoption

Kentucky leads the nation in households using subsidies for internet service, the Lexington Herald Leader reported Wednesday.

BroadbandNow, which researches broadband prices and availability in the U.S., said in a November report that 172,243 of the estimated 508,260 households eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. Administered by the Federal Communications Commission, the program provides support for broadband services and certain devices to help low-income households stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FCC launched the EBB in May, allowing consumers to apply and get connected with a service provider. Households qualify for the program if their income is at or below the federal poverty guidelines, or if they qualify for other FCC benefits such as the Lifeline subsidy. Additional ways households can qualify are through SNAP, Medicaid, and other programs offering pension and housing benefits.

Kentucky is working to get the state connected in other ways. The state’s broadband initiative is a network of public and private partners working to expand internet access across the state.

“We are committed to the betterment of Kentucky’s workforce and public education system by way of locally-sourced data and cooperative decision-making. We believe that every home and business in Kentucky should have access to affordable, adequate, and reliable internet access in order to fully participate in a digital economy and society,” the initiative says.

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