On March 30, Sen Ron Wyden wrote to Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel saying he believes it is time to state unequivocally that broadband is an essential service on which every household could count, in every nook and cranny of rural America.
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?
In letters to wireless carriers, 13 US senators caution about shutting down legacy services. Researchers estimate that at least 13% of Americans rely on older 2G or 3G technology. In some areas, 2G and 3G services are the only mobile wireless service available, and this is particularly true in rural and secluded areas where 4G and 5G technologies have not yet been deployed. For many customers who live in these areas, a mobile wireless connection is their only tool for staying in touch with friends and family, doing homework, or making a living.
In a letter to Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) urged the department to coordinate its new broadband programs with the other federal agencies supporting broadband deployment. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 added the Department of the Treasury to the list of agencies tackling the digital divide.
House Commerce Committee Leaders Urge NTIA to Provide Leadership Across the Administration in the Management of Federal Spectrum
House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Full Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Latta (R-OH) wrote to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration urging the agency to fulfill its statutory role and provide needed leadership in the management of federal spectrum use.
House Commerce Committee Republicans Caution FCC Chair Rosenworcel on Rolling Back Internet Service Protections for Americans
House Commerce Committee Republicans, led by Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta, sent a letter urging Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Rosenworcel not to impose stringent net neutrality regulations, which could result in Americans losing their internet offerings. Almost immediately after California enforced its new net neutrality law, two Internet providers reportedly told the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that the law could force them to end arrangements with US wireless carr
Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Response to Members of Congress Re: GAO Report on FCC High-Cost Programs
On April 9, 2021, Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote to various Members of Congress regarding the Oct 1, 2020 Government Accountability Office report entitled "FCC Should Enhance Performance Goals and Measures for Its Program to Support Broadband Service in High-Cost Areas". In their Sept 17, 2020 response to the draft report, the Managing Director and Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau noted that the FCC has adopted targeted performance goals and measures for specific high-cost support mechanisms.
Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA-06) and Jim Langevin (D-RI-02) sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, urging him to issue guidance that will allow K-12 schools to make investments in increased cybersecurity measures. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) Act both included funding streams to support school operations during the pandemic.
In a series of letters, six US senators questioned eight digital advertising exchanges about the possible sale of Americans’ personal information to foreign-owned companies. The senators are seeking information about the sharing of Americans’ data through “real time bidding” – the auction process used to place many targeted digital advertisements.
In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a group of senators urged the FCC to ensure that state, local, and tribal governments are included in efforts to update nationwide broadband maps. Following decades-long use of inaccurate data maps that denied broadband funding to eligible communities, the FCC was charged by Congress with creating new maps in 2020 to accurately depict the current state of broadband access in our nation.