FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
On Oct 16, as a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, I voted to block the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers. But I am only one of five votes at the agency, and a majority of my colleagues have already voiced their support for this transaction. On top of that, the Department of Justice recently reached an agreement with the carriers, giving them a green light to combine. The largest wireless merger in history is now headed toward approval.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: "Today’s decision is a victory for consumers, broadband deployment, and the free and open Internet. The court affirmed the FCC’s decision to repeal 1930s utility-style regulation of the Internet imposed by the prior Administration. The court also upheld our robust transparency rule so that consumers can be fully informed about their online options. Since we adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, consumers have seen 40% faster speeds and millions more Americans have gained access to the Internet.
It’s September and the new school year is underway. Across the country, students are filing into their new classrooms and meeting their new teachers. They are also getting ready for something familiar in education — and that’s homework. What is new about homework, however, is that it now requires internet service. Today, seven in 10 teachers assign homework that requires online access. But data from the Federal Communications Commission, where I work, consistently shows that one in three households does not subscribe to broadband. Where those numbers overlap is the homework gap.
A problem could lead to the undercounting of the population of the United States, which would affect how billions in federal funds are distributed. It involves broadband. For the first time in our history, the US census will prioritize collecting responses online. In practice, this means that most households will get a letter in the mail directing them to fill out a form on a website. For households that do not respond, letters with paper forms may follow, and a census taker could eventually be sent to collect the data in person.
According to the Senate Joint Economic Committee, there are 12 million kids all across the country who lack the internet access they now need for nightly schoolwork. According to the Associated Press, nearly one in five students nationwide falls into the Homework Gap. We are a nation that finds problems and fixes them. Here are my ideas. First, we need to gather data locally and raise awareness. I think every city and town can build their own local assessments to understand what is behind their Homework Gap.
The chatter about 5G is everywhere. Lost in the glowing headlines is the fact the US is making choices that will leave rural America behind. These choices will harm our global leadership in 5G and could create new challenges for the security of our networks.
This is a rulemaking that proposes to limit universal service efforts at the Federal Communications Commission. It is fundamentally inconsistent with this agency’s high-minded rhetoric about closing the digital divide. It is also at odds with our most basic statutory duty to promote and advance universal service. That’s because it suggests a course that could cut off broadband in rural areas, limit high-speed internet access in rural classrooms, shorten the reach of telehealth, and foreclose opportunity for those who need it most.
It is simply not credible for the Federal Communications Commission to clap its hands and pronounce our broadband job done—and yet that is exactly what it does in this report today. By determining that under the law broadband deployment is reasonable and timely for all Americans, we not only fall short of our statutory responsibility, we show a cruel disregard for those who the digital age has left behind.... This report deserves a failing grade. It concludes that broadband deployment is reasonable and timely throughout the United States.
Commissioner Rosenworcel Releases Responses to Call for an Update on the Sale of Real-Time Location Data
Earlier in May, Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel sent letters to major phone companies asking for an update on their progress toward halting the sale of customers’ real-time location information. A series of press reports over the past year revealed that geolocation data collected by phone companies was being made available to hundreds of bounty hunters across the country. However, the FCC so far has not provided the public with any details, despite the ongoing risk to the safety and security of American consumers.
To safeguard the privacy and safety of American consumers, Commissioner Rosenworcel sent letters to major phone companies to confirm whether they have lived up to their commitments to end location aggregation services. The FCC needs to do more to protect the privacy and security of American consumers. It needs to do more to provide the public with basic information about what is happening with their realtime location information.