AT&T estimated the number of total housing units without fixed broadband service at the Federal Communications Commission’s current 25/3 speed threshold (9.8 million) and at a 100/20 speed threshold (16.4 million) in both served and unserved census blocks. These are nationwide estimates without regard to any measure of “high-cost”
Billions of dollars have already been directed to broadband infrastructure and affordability in stimulus legislation, and we anticipate a significant commitment to broadband deployment in the upcoming Biden infrastructure bill. But all of this has raised two – and I think separate – fundamental questions.
March 12, we are filing our application to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program so we can offer low-income customers additional options for discounted broadband services. We appreciate the Commission’s efforts to move swiftly to implement this program and we look forward to its official launch date. While the EBB will help address the immediate broadband connectivity needs of many low-income Americans, we will continue to work with Congress and others to identify permanent and sustainable funding solutions.
AT&T is responding to a Request for Information from the US Department of Defense (DoD) that seeks comment on spectrum sharing technologies and leasing arrangements; asks whether the DoD should own and operate its own 5G network; and addresses myriad technical, statutory, legal, regulatory and policy issues associated with new approaches to spectrum sharing.
As Congress debates increases to the Lifeline benefit, it should also ensure that funds are directly appropriated to support any benefit increase or otherwise ensure that the Universal Service Fund funding mechanism is significantly reformed. Relying on decades-old funding approaches will only serve to undermine the goal of providing 21st-century broadband connectivity to Lifeline eligible households.
On Sept 2, the Federal Communications Commission will take comments on NTIA’s petition on reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision enacted in 1996 to address a narrow set of concerns involving nascent internet platforms that then played only a marginal role in American life. The purpose of the provision made sense at that moment in internet history: Section 230 sought to insulate the newly emerging tech
Although Lifeline eligibility is now linked directly to the Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, Lifeline has adopted none of the technology advances designed to make it both consumer and provider-friendly. If the Lifeline program is to play a bigger role in addressing the well-documented internet usage gaps for low-income Americans, the program must be modernized. In a modernized Lifeline program, eligible households would apply