As Tennessee voters head to the polls, Senate candidate Phil Bredesen (D) is taking aim at Rep Marsha Blackburn’s legacy on broadband. In a recent campaign ad, former-Gov Bredesen calls out the House Telecommunications Subcommittee chair for having “voted against $600 million in broadband initiatives.” At issue: Blackburn’s March 2018 vote against the sprawling omnibus government funding bill that contained a series of committee-negotiated tech legislation central to Blackburn’s panel.
After Russia launched its invasion, Ukrainian officials pleaded for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to dispatch their Starlink terminals to the region to boost Internet access. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk replied to broad online fanfare. Since then, the company has cast the actions in part as a charitable gesture.
On January 11, the Senate confirmed Google and Mozilla alum Alan Davidson as director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The agency will steer $48 billion in federal funding for broadband deployment, a massive sum that will test its capacity. Former NTIA chiefs David Redl and Larry Irving highlighted what they see as the biggest hurdles for Davidson and the agency’s upcoming agenda.
Congress will reconvene in mid-November to discuss Democratic lawmakers’ massive social spending proposal, the Build Back Better Act, which is poised to provide a historic funding boost to regulators who police the technology sector for privacy, competition and consumer protection abuses, among other key initiatives. Key provisions in the latest version of the bill aim to:
Jonathan Kanter, who has represented Big Tech rivals like Yelp and News Corp, skated through his nomination hearing for leader of the Justice Department's antitrust division without incident as both Democrats and Republicans lauded his tougher stance on regulating digital behemoths. It’s no surprise Democrats are backing President Biden's pick, a favorite among progressives and anti-monopoly advocates.
President Biden has been historically slow to appoint officials to the federal government’s top telecommunications agencies, and advocacy groups say the vacancies are preventing the administration from carrying out key agenda items, such as reinstating net neutrality rules killed during the Trump administration. Nearly eight months into his presidency, Biden has yet to pick permanent leaders for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which together oversee and set policy for the broadcast and Internet service in
Some of the Senate infrastructure bill's staunchest supporters say they are frustrated by what wasn’t included in the bill: provisions to encourage municipal broadband — Internet service that is partially or fully owned by local governments. Consumer advocacy and anti-monopoly groups say helping cities build their own Internet services is crucial for expanding connectivity nationwide, and they say it could also dramatically increase competition in areas where only a few major telecommunications companies dominate the market. Locally owned networks, proponents contend, aren’t driven by profi