The Federal Communications Commission approved additional immediate funding to accelerate the restoration of communications networks in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands that were damaged and destroyed during the 2017 hurricane season. The FCC is also seeking comment on injecting almost $900 million in medium- and long-term funding into expanding and improving broadband access on the islands. To accomplish these goals, the Commission created the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund (Bringing Puerto Rico Together Fund) and the Connect USVI Fund.
Sens Tom Udall (D-NM) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced a bill to put wireless internet on school buses in order to help students without broadband access at home get online to study and do homework.
Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the “Mobile Accuracy and Precision Broadband Act” (MAP Broadband Act) (S 2955). If enacted, the bill would help improve the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mobile broadband coverage map and ensure that federal resources are targeted to unserved communities that do not have access to reliable mobile broadband service. The legislation would address problems with the FCC’s Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) presumptive eligibility maps.
Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr will visit the Great Plains from May 29 to June 1, with events in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. The trip will focus on rural broadband deployment, including the opportunities it creates in smart agriculture, telehealth, job creation, and workforce development. The trip will include events with Sen Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sen John Thune (R-SD), and Gov Dennis Daugaard (R-SD).
Sens Markey, Bluemnthal, Reps Barton, Rush Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Protect Children’s Online Privacy
Sen Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep Joe Barton (R-TX), along with Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) reintroduced the “Do Not Track Kids Act”, comprehensive children’s online privacy legislation. The legislation updates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by expanding and enhancing rules for the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information of children 15 years and younger.
Sens Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) issued a strong call to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to identify and address fraudulent behavior that has led to potentially two million fake comments being filed under stolen identities on public rulemakings. Though they come from different sides of the aisle, Sens Merkley and Toomey share a personal connection to this issue: Both had their identities stolen to file false comments on the FCC’s net neutrality proposals.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the June Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 7, 2018:
House Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Doyle (D-PA) joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sen Ed Markey (D-MA) in announcing that, with the passage of legislation to overrule the Federal Communications Commission’s order eliminating Network Neutrality in the Senate, the next step must be passage of this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Reps Ro Khanna (D-CA) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX) introduced legislation to improve citizens’ interaction with the federal government online, while reducing the cost of assistance from federal agencies. The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) will lower federal costs and increase efficiency by digitizing government processes and establishing minimum standards for federal websites, including mobile-friendly interfaces in compliance with the latest security protocols.
Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), members of the Senate Commerce Committee, led 61 senators in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, supporting the advancement and the accessibility of broadband services in rural communities. In the letter, the senators requested more predictable and long-term efficiencies in the FCC’s High-Cost Universal Service Fund, which is responsible for helping meet the Commission’s goal to provide reliable and affordable communications to all Americans.