The Senate Commerce Committee will consider President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the U.S.
Amazon's Kuiper Systems asked US regulators for permission to launch another 4,538 satellites that would bolster its constellation as it competes with Elon Musk’s SpaceX for broadband-from-space customers. The additions would bring Kuiper’s constellation to 7,774 satellites, the company said in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission on November 4.
Satellite entrepreneur Charlie Ergen and computer whiz Michael Dell have a plan to open up little-used wireless frequencies to millions of customers with a new 5G service. The proposal has sparked a ruckus among billionaires. Elon Musk’s SpaceX filed an objection with the Federal Communications Commission saying the “scheme” would wreck his broadband-from-orbit service. Ergen’s Dish Network responded with an FCC filing that accused SpaceX of “flimsy” and “far-fetched” criticism.
AT&T gets a chance to close a 5G airwaves gap with its rivals as bidding begins in a US auction of frequencies for ultrafast wireless service that’s expected to attract $25 billion in bids. The third-largest US wireless carrier is predicted to be the top bidder in the spectrum auction run by the Federal Communications Commission. Mobile leaders Verizon and T-Mobile are also ready to take part in the sale that starts October 5, as is Dish Network. The airwaves being sold are in the 3.45-3.55 GHz range, and are known as midband frequencies.
Republicans are poised to become a majority of the Federal Communications Commission at year’s end unless President Joe Biden nominates a chair who can swiftly be approved by the Senate. Eight months into his administration, President Biden hasn’t named anyone to permanently lead the agency.
As Hurricane Ida pummeled New Orleans, officials told residents needing help to flag down a police officer or go to a fire station. The city’s 911 emergency calling service, served by AT&T, wasn’t working. The failure, rectified on August 30, is helping to fuel calls for Washington regulators to demand greater resiliency for mobile phone networks in the face of storms, fires and other natural disasters.
The infrastructure bill moving through Congress requires internet service providers to offer a low-cost option, sparking opposition from Senate Commerce Committee Minority Leader Roger Wicker (R-MS) who said the mandate may lead to broadband rate regulation. The measure will require funding recipients to offer a low-cost plan.
Negotiators of the Senate infrastructure bill have agreed to focus its broadband subsidies on areas lacking basic internet, easing concerns of cable providers such as Comcast and Charter Communications that they’d face widespread taxpayer-funded competition by faster services. The White House initially sought $100 billion to spread broadband to all US households, a figure that was later pared to $65 billion. Earlier proposals called for subsidies flowing to areas lacking the fastest speeds, a cohort that includes an estimated two-thirds of US households.
As more Americans cut the cord on traditional landline phones, a government program that subsidizes internet service to poor communities is in danger of collapsing because it relies on taxes from dwindling long-distance calling fees. That’s prompting calls to shore up the more than 20-year-old Universal Service Fund by tapping technology companies that profit from the growing use of broadband. The fund, which distributed $8.3 billion last year, helps connect schools, libraries and rural health care facilities. It also provides a connection subsidy for roughly 7 million poor households.
To reach homes that lack good service, or have none at all, President Joe Biden has proposed funding networks that are run by cities and nonprofits. That’s not sitting well with Comcast, AT&T, Verizon Communications, and other dominant carriers, which don’t like the prospect of facing subsidized competitors.