Daily Digest 11/19/2020 (News from the FCC)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Headlines Daily Digest

Today's Events

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FCC Meeting News

FCC December Agenda

About 1,530,000 Added Broadband in 3Q 2020

Table of Contents

News From the FCC

FCC Modernizes 5.9 GHz Band to Improve Wi-Fi and Automotive Safety  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Further Streamlines Satellite Rules for Space and Earth Stations  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Proposes Allowing Satellite Downlinks in the 17 GHz Band  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Proposes Modernizing Funding Mechanism For Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Services  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Extends Deadline for 2 Weeks to Respond to Huawei Application for Review  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Fines California Telemarketer Nearly $10 Million For Spoofed Robocalls That Targeted A State Assembly Candidate  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Improves Rules for Resolution of Program Carriage Complaints  |  Federal Communications Commission
National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier Launches in California  |  Read below  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission
To Safe and Secure Holidays... and Networks  |  Read below  |  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission


About 1,530,000 Added Broadband in 3Q 2020. Highest Quarter since 1Q 2009  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Leichtman Research Group
Net Neutrality Tops To-Do List for FCC Democrats in Biden Era  |  Read below  |  Jon Reid  |  Bloomberg
Newsletter | From Books to Broadband: The Critical Role of Libraries in Communities Nationwide  |  Next Century Cities
Craig Settles: Coronavirus Accelerated Funding for Broadband, Now Partnerships Need to Catch Up  |  Daily Yonder
Comcast sues Beaverton, opening new front in cable giant’s fight over local taxes  |  Oregonian, The
Working from home with weak internet? There's a device to fix that  |  USA Today


Nokia, Qualcomm, Elisa claim 5G speed record across two devices  |  Fierce
T-Mobile vs. Dish: 2 takes on open RAN  |  Fierce


Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino voters, advocates say  |  Read below  |  Rebecca Klar  |  Hill, The
Sen. Hawley: Social Media Coordinate Censorship Efforts  |  Multichannel News
'Without Our Work, Facebook Is Unusable': Content Moderators Demand Safer Offices  |  National Public Radio
Parler CEO: 'Not against the law' to express 'crazy' opinions  |  Hill, The
Editorial: The battle over truth looks likely to play out on a new suite of social-media alternatives  |  Washington Post
State, federal antitrust lawsuits likely to challenge Facebook for buying rivals and weaponizing data  |  Washington Post
Expect more tech executive grillings in the next Congress  |  Washington Post
How Twitter and Facebook plan to handle Trump’s accounts when he leaves office.  |  New York Times
Apple Slashes App Store Fees for Smaller Developers  |  Wall Street Journal


Senate Approves Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act  |  Read below  |  Sen Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen Cory Gardner (R-CO)  |  Press Release  |  US Senate


Key Practices That Can Help Ensure the Success of Telework Programs  |  Government Accountability Office


NAB to Supreme Court: Reinstate Ownership Deregulation  |  Next TV
Georgia’s Senate Runoff Could Be a Billion-Dollar Windfall for Local TV  |  Wrap, The


Who Might Joe Biden Select To Lead The Justice Department?  |  National Public Radio
Tom Wheeler: With only 11 weeks, a transition delayed is a transition denied  |  Brookings Institution


Nominated for another term as Speaker of the House, Rep Nancy Pelosi says it's her last  |  Hill, The
Today's Top Stories

News From the FCC

FCC Modernizes 5.9 GHz Band to Improve Wi-Fi and Automotive Safety

Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules for the 5.9 GHz band (5.850-5.925 GHz) to make new spectrum available for unlicensed uses, such as Wi-Fi, and improve automotive safety. Specifically, the new band plan designates the lower 45 megahertz (5.850-5.895 GHz) for unlicensed uses and the upper 30 megahertz (5.895-5.925 GHz) for enhanced automobile safety using Cellular Vehicle-toEverything (C-V2X) technology.

National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier Launches in California

Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau announced the full launch of the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) in California, effective December 18, 2020. Given the unique circumstances in California, where the state agency conducts Lifeline eligibility determinations directly, the Bureau and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) have collaborated with the state to enable it to continue to conduct eligibility verification for the federal Lifeline program in partnership with National Verifier. California has managed eligibility verification and duplicate checking for the federal Lifeline program in parallel with administering its own state low-income subsidy program for many years. Additionally, California does not participate in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). In light of that waiver and the systems California already has in place, the National Verifier will leverage the state’s existing processes so that Lifeline consumers in California can continue to apply using a streamlined state application process for both federal and state benefits.

To Safe and Secure Holidays... and Networks

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the “number one concern” for democracy at home and abroad is the integrity of our communications networks.  In particular, he warned that installing equipment from Chinese firms in the backbone of our 5G networks could give the Communist Chinese government “backdoors to pull up every bit of data in the world.” I agree wholeheartedly. Or, as I’m fond of quipping on Twitter, “you don’t say.”  The FCC's December agenda includes:

  • An Order implementing the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019
  • Targeted enhancements to FCC equipment authorization rules to make sure the newest technologies and must-have devices reach consumers as quickly as possible while still meeting our substantive standards.
  • A proposal to encourage the deployment of services using ATSC 3.0—the “next generation” broadcast television standard. The new standard promises to finally realize the potential for broadcast spectrum capacity to support so-called “Broadcast Internet” services—digital services beyond traditional over-the-air video, integrated into the broadband ecosystem. The FCC will consider a Report and Order that clarifies the basis on which to calculate ancillary and supplementary service fees, which are an assessment on the revenues earned by television stations from such services that we are required by statute to collect.


About 1,530,000 Added Broadband in 3Q 2020. Highest Quarter since 1Q 2009

Press Release  |  Leichtman Research Group

Leichtman Research Group found that the largest cable and wireline phone providers in the US – representing about 96% of the market – acquired about 1,530,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 3Q 2020, compared to a pro forma gain of about 615,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019. These top broadband providers now account for about 104.9 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 72 million broadband subscribers, and top wireline phone companies having about 32.9 million subscribers. Findings for the quarter include:

  • Overall, broadband additions in 3Q 2020 were about 915,000 more than in 3Q 2019
    • Broadband additions in 3Q 2020 were the most in any quarter since 1Q 2009
  • The top cable companies added about 1,320,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020 – compared to a net gain of about 830,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019
    • Cable broadband had over one million net adds for the third consecutive quarter – the first time since 3Q 2006-1Q 2007
    • Comcast’s 633,000 net adds in 3Q 2020 were more than in any quarter in the past fifteen years
  • The top wireline phone companies added about 210,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020 – compared to a net loss of about 220,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019

Net Neutrality Tops To-Do List for FCC Democrats in Biden Era

Jon Reid  |  Bloomberg

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to move to restore net neutrality rules after President-elect Joe Biden takes office, undoing the agency’s deregulation of the broadband industry during the Trump administration. The key regulatory underpinning would be a reclassification of broadband as a service under Title II of the Communications Act. That reclassification would enable the agency to reinstate rules requiring that companies like AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. treat all internet traffic equally, and take other actions to regulate broadband providers’ business practices amid the pandemic. Internet service providers “should plan for their broadband service to be regulated as a Title II service via Obama-era-like net neutrality rules,” Matt Schettenhelm, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. How fast Democrats can move to restore broadband as a Title II service and enact new net neutrality rules will depend on how quickly Democrats can install a majority at the FCC.


Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino voters, advocates say

Rebecca Klar  |  Hill, The

Lapses in tech companies’ policies to address Spanish content led to a proliferation of misinformation targeting Latino voters around Election Day, according to several advocacy groups. Spanish misinformation campaigns largely mimicked those in English that cast doubt on the security of mail-in ballots, later calling into question the election results. But while the English-language posts were regularly removed, Spanish ones often “slipped through the cracks,” said Jessica González, co-CEO of Free Press and co-founder of the civil rights coalition Change the Terms. “I think there were massive failures across the board,” said González.


Senate Approves Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act

Sen Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen Cory Gardner (R-CO)  |  Press Release  |  US Senate

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) applauded congressional passage of their bipartisan legislation to require minimum security requirements for Internet of Things (IoT) devices purchased by the US government. Leveraging the purchasing power of the federal government, the bill will ultimately help move the wider market for IoT devices towards greater cybersecurity. The Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act passed through the House of Representatives in September and was approved in the Senate by unanimous consent. It now heads to the President’s desk for signature. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to issue recommendations addressing, at a minimum, secure development, identity management, patching, and configuration management for IoT devices.
  • Direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue guidelines for each agency that are consistent with the NIST recommendations, including making any necessary revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement new security standards and guidelines.
  • Require any IoT devices  purchased by the federal government to comply with those recommendations.
  • Direct NIST to work with cybersecurity researchers, industry experts, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to publish guidelines on vulnerability disclosure and remediation for federal information systems. 
  • Require contractors and vendors providing information systems to the U.S. government to adopt coordinated vulnerability disclosure policies, so that if a vulnerability is uncovered, that can be effectively shared with a vendor for remediation.

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Benton (www.benton.org) provides the only free, reliable, and non-partisan daily digest that curates and distributes news related to universal broadband, while connecting communications, democracy, and public interest issues. Posted Monday through Friday, this service provides updates on important industry developments, policy issues, and other related news events. While the summaries are factually accurate, their sometimes informal tone may not always represent the tone of the original articles. Headlines are compiled by Kevin Taglang (headlines AT benton DOT org) and Robbie McBeath (rmcbeath AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

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Benton Institute
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