The Biden administration is getting closer to launching its proposed Alliance for the Future of the Internet. Administration officials originally hoped to launch this effort of “like-minded countries” in early December 2021 in tandem with the president’s Summit for Democracy.
Comcast has added a lobbyist with deep ties to Arizona, a state whose senior senator may hold the key to confirming Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] for the open seat at the Federal Communications Commission. The cable, broadband and broadcasting giant hired Kirk Adams of Consilium Consulting to lobby on FCC nominations.
Privacy advocacy groups Free Press Action and Fight for the Future are urging Senate Democrats to quickly confirm Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to the Federal Communications Commission and Alvaro Bedoya to the Federal Trade Commission. President Joe Biden renominated both nominees on January 4 after the Senate failed to confirm them in December 2021. Both the FCC and the FTC currently have 2-2 partisan splits, making it difficult for their Democratic chairs to advance controversial items.
The $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package cleared by the House on November 5 includes a record $2.75 billion in state grants to help millions of Americans access and use technology—a great start, advocates say, but more is needed.
Apple would be prohibited from pre-installing its own apps on Apple devices under recently introduced antitrust reform legislation. Rep David Cicilline (D-RI), who is leading a push to pass new regulations for US technology companies, stated that a proposal prohibiting tech platforms from giving an advantage to their own products over those of competitors would mean Apple can’t ship devices with pre-installed apps on its iOS operating platform.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) is pressing to expand by the end of 2021 high-speed internet access to all 24 million Americans without it. The deadline from Chairman Scott comes as bipartisan lawmakers and the broadband industry call for a permanent solution to internet access hurdles in remote locales, instead of relying on pilot loan programs.
The Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $100 billion to extend broadband networks to all US households. But officials relying on industry data produced inaccurate maps of internet deployment. As a result, the US doesn’t know where to find everyone lacking service. “The biggest problem is false positives -- places shown as having broadband when they don’t,” said Michael Romano, senior vice president at NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association.
- Net Neutrality: A Democratic Federal Communications Commission will likely first move to reclassify broadband as a service under Title II of the Communications Act. That will allow it to restore rules requiring Internet service providers to treat all internet traffic equally, and take other actions to regulate broadband providers’ business practices amid the Covid-19 pandemic.