Margaret Harding McGill
In an unexpected twist, two conservative news networks — Newsmax and One America News Network— have come out in support of President Biden's progressive Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society], despite a broad conservative consensus against her. If Sohn is confirmed, her appointment would give Democrats the majority they need to rewrite regulations for the communications sector.
Public safety officials fear the nation's 911 centers will continue to languish in the analog era, after Democrats slashed proposed funding for a digital makeover in their social spending bill.
A national nonprofit backed by Silicon Valley luminaries is proposing to set up free WiFi in apartment buildings as one solution to an intractable problem — ensuring those who have access to the internet can actually afford it.
A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country. Underline, a community infrastructure company, began building its first open access fiber network in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2021. Under the open access model, Underline builds and operates the fiber network while multiple service providers can use it and offer service to customers.
Co-chair of the Senate Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) announced a bill to create a $10 billion federal grant program for upgrades to the US's 911 centers (S.2754). Expanding 911 to accept more kinds of digital data would add more resiliency to a system that's still built around a copper-based telephone network. A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.
As the federal government readies to spend tens of billions of dollars on broadband upgrades, the Federal Communications Commission — the agency that has traditionally doled out subsidies for internet connections — is on the sidelines. The broadband money got routed around the FCC for several reasons, according to insiders familiar with the process.
House Republicans launched a GOP caucus on Big Tech, seeking to build support for antitrust changes despite a divide among Republicans. The "Freedom from Big Tech Caucus" is co-chaired by House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee top Republican Ken Buck (R-CO) and Rep Lance Gooden (R-TX), and counts Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) as a vice chair.