Sen John Thune (R-SD)

House and Senate Republican Commerce Committee Leaders Share Broadband Program Priorities with NTIA

House Reps Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Robert Latta (R-OH), along with Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD), sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson outlining their priorities for implementation of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA’s) Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) broadband programs. The legislators call on the NTIA to:

Senators Request FCC Provide More Information on Future Spectrum Auction Opportunities

Sens Roger Wicker, (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel requesting information on future spectrum auction opportunities and policy reforms that can be made to auction rules to promote international competitiveness, maximize spectrum use efficiency, and foster the rapid deployment of next-generation technologies. The FCC’s statutory authority to conduct spectrum auctions is set to expire later in 2022, absent Congressional action.

US Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Rural Broadband

US Sens John Thune (R-SD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Connect Unserved Americans Act. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) targets funding through the ReConnect Program to areas most in need of reliable broadband services.

Republican Commerce Committee Leaders Seek Information About FCC's Response to EBB 'Fraud and Abuse'

Reps Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Bob Latta (R-OH), along with Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel seeking information about the agency’s response after the FCC Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that broadband providers have been fraudulently enrolling households in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. The providers falsely claimed that certain customers’ households had children attending schools participating in the National School Lunch Program’s Community Eligibility Provisio

Sens Wicker and Thune Urge FCC to Move Quickly in RDOF Application Review

Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Broadband Subcommittee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to request a status update on the Federal Communications Commission's long-form application review process for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. The auction awarded $9.2 billion over ten years to over 300 bidders to deploy high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses in 49 states.

Senators Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Transparency on Internet Platforms

Sens John Thune (R-SD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Filter Bubble Transparency Act (S.2024). The bill would require large-scale internet platforms that collect data from more than 1 million users and gross more than $50 million per year to provide greater transparency to consumers, and allow users to view content that has not been curated as a result of a secret algorithm. 

Sen Thune Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Advance Rural Broadband Services

Sens John Thune (R-SD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) cosponsored the Rural Connectivity Advancement Program (RCAP) Act of 2021, legislation that would dedicate a portion of proceeds from congressionally mandated spectrum auctions to be used for the buildout of broadband networks, which would help strengthen connectivity in rural communities throughout the country. The bill would:

Sens Thune and Wicker Request GAO Review of FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Sens John Thune (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to request that it conduct an independent review of the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program to ensure its success. The letter also requested that there be a comprehensive review of the program to determine its effectiveness and efficiency. They asked GAO examine the following issues and questions:

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse: When establishing the EBB program, what measures did the FCC take to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse? 

Congressional Republicans Urge FCC to Quickly Produce Accurate Broadband Maps

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the minority leadership from the House and Senate Commerce Committees asked about the FCC's status on completing its mapping process to ensure accurate broadband data collection. [Congress just allocated the funds the FCC needs to do the mapping in December 2020.] "[W]e are concerned that delays in completing these maps could lead to further delays in distributing critical broadband funds," the Members of Congress write. "You have repeatedly stated that the FCC could quickly produce new broadband maps.

Sens Wicker, Thune Raise Concerns About USF Sustainability

Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to to Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission Jessica Rosenworcel raising concerns about the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) long-term sustainability as a mechanism to close the nation’s digital divide.