Daily Digest 9/13/2023 (Ian Wilmut Ian Wilmut)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents

Digital Equity

Congress Must Extend Affordable Connectivity Program Funding to Keep Kids Connected  |  Read below  |  Olivia Wein, Cheryl Leanza  |  Editorial  |  National Consumer Law Center
Affordable Connectivity Program fuels prepaid growth  |  Read below  |  Jeff Moore  |  Op-Ed  |  Fierce


Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Response to Reps. Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi Regarding Security Risks Posed By Cellular Connectivity Modules  |  Read below  |  FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel  |  Letter  |  Federal Communications Commission
Statements of Assistant Secretary Davidson & Vice Minister Park on the Wireless Equipment Supply Chain  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Comcast is selling its 600MHz spectrum licenses to T-Mobile because it’s ‘unlikely’ to need them  |  Read below  |  Tom Nagel  |  Press Release  |  Comcast
Thousands of customers added daily to AT&T’s standalone 5G  |  Read below  |  Chris Sambar  |  Press Release  |  AT&T

State/Local Initiatives

altafiber Public-Private Partnerships Bear Fruit in Kentucky  |  Read below  |  Carl Weinschenk  |  telecompetitor

Broadband Funding

The success of our infrastructure moment rests on capital budgets  |  Brookings


Infinera onshores semiconductor production for BEAD compliance  |  Read below  |  Julia King  |  Fierce

Platforms/AI/Social Media

The Supreme Court’s major questions doctrine and AI regulation  |  Read below  |  Blair Levin, Tom Wheeler  |  Analysis  |  Brookings
Biden-⁠Harris Administration Secures Voluntary Commitments from Artificial Intelligence Companies to Manage AI Risks  |  White House
AI predicts how judges are likely to rule  |  Axios
Erwin Chemerinsky | When is it wrong to urge social media platforms to take down false information?  |  Los Angeles Times
Influencer Grows In Influence, Set To Top $34 Billion In Marketing Spend  |  MediaPost
California lawmakers want to protect actors from being replaced by artificial intelligence  |  Los Angeles Times
Musk may have violated FTC privacy order, new court filing shows  |  Washington Post


Google’s Antitrust Trial to Set ‘Future of the Internet,’ DOJ Says  |  Wall Street Journal
‘A Monopolist Flexing’: Department of Justice Blasts Google’s Tactics as Antitrust Trial Opens  |  New York Times


FCC Seeks Comment on E-Rate Program Eligible Services List for FY2024  |  Federal Communications Commission


Podcast | Teen mental health and social media: what does the evidence tell us?  |  Guardian, The
Open letter from parents of trans and gender expansive kids: KOSA would make our kids less safe.  |  Fight for the Future


Video | Smart Farming  |  Colorado Broadband Office


Bharat Ramamurti, a Senior Biden Aide Who Quietly Helped Shape Economic Agenda, is Leaving  |  New York Times
Today's Top Stories

Digital Equity

Congress Must Extend Affordable Connectivity Program Funding to Keep Kids Connected

Olivia Wein, Cheryl Leanza  |  Editorial  |  National Consumer Law Center

If Congress doesn’t act to extend the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), millions of households that currently have broadband internet access could lose it before the end of the 2023-2024 school year. Students could fall into the “homework gap," meaning they won't be able to complete schoolwork at home and keep up with their classmates. Congress and the Biden Administration must work together to approve additional ACP funding to ensure that students aren’t left without internet in the middle of this school year, and that the program is funded for years to come.

[Olivia Wein is a senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center focusing on policies and programs that protect low-income consumers’ access to essential utility services, including energy, water, and broadband service. Cheryl A. Leanza serves as policy advisor to the United Church of Christ’s historic media advocacy arm and as the Co-Chair of the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights Media & Telecommunications Task Force.]

Affordable Connectivity Program fuels prepaid growth

Jeff Moore  |  Op-Ed  |  Fierce

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a huge factor in the prepaid ecosystem. In the coming years, the two top sources of funding for this ecosystem will be the Total by Verizon store rollout and the ACP. A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) told me their company had plans to push free services via the ACP, while providing refurbished devices to these customers either for free or at very affordable prices. Another example of the developing ACP ecosystem was the presence of CompuGroup Medical (CGM), which provides an ACP enrollment platform and a “suite of support services" intended to “expedite an ACP carrier’s time to market, optimize their subscriber retention, and drive end-to-end program compliance.” The ACP is heavily pitched via prepaid retail, too, as signs market “talk, text & fast 5G for as low as $0/mo," at Cricket Wireless stores and “free mobile service" at Boost Mobile dealers.

[Jeff Moore is Principal of Wave 7 Research, a wireless research firm that covers U.S. postpaid, prepaid and smartphone competition.]


Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Response to Reps. Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi Regarding Security Risks Posed By Cellular Connectivity Modules

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel  |  Letter  |  Federal Communications Commission

On August 7, Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) wrote Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel with concerns about the security risks posed by cellular connectivity modules provided by companies subject to the jurisdiction, direction, or control of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On September 5, the Chairwoman wrote back saying that the s approach is to “deter, defend, and develop”: deter bad actors, defend against untrusted vendors, and develop a market for trustworthy innovation. Consistent with this strategy, the FCC revoked the operating authorities of four Chinese state-owned carriers that were providing service in the US under Section 214 of the Communications Act. The FCC also adopted policies to regularly review foreign companies’ authorizations to provide telecommunications services in the US, ensuring that any authorization reflects up-to-date national security interests and is not frozen in time when Section 214 approval is granted. Additionally, the FCC has worked with our national security counterparts to publish and update the first-ever list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security. Under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, the FCC can update this list only at the direction of national security authorities—specifically the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Acquisition Security Council. In other words, the agency cannot update this list on its own. Finally, in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Congress provided $1.9 billion to support the removal of this equipment in our networks. However, this amount falls short of what is required. As I have previously noted to Congress, an additional $3.08 billion is needed to fully fund this program and support the many small and rural carriers that have deployed this equipment and need to replace it in their networks.

Comcast is selling its 600MHz spectrum licenses to T-Mobile because it’s ‘unlikely’ to need them

Tom Nagel  |  Press Release  |  Comcast

Several years ago, Comcast acquired wireless spectrum in the CBRS and 600 MHz bands as a key building block to host even more data traffic on its own wireless networks. Beginning Sept 2023, after successful employee tests of the CBRS spectrum, Xfinity Mobile and Comcast Business Mobile customers in Philadelphia will start connecting to the company's new 5G network for the first time. This strong CBRS spectrum performance has made Comcast realize that it is unlikely to need the 600 MHz spectrum licenses that it currently holds to support wireless customers. As a result, Comcast recently entered into an agreement with T-Mobile in which T-Mobile will lease and eventually purchase Comcast's licenses in the 600 MHz band. Comcast will receive quarterly lease payments followed by a final payment of roughly $3.3 billion for the license purchase, expected in 2028.

Thousands of customers added daily to AT&T’s standalone 5G

Chris Sambar  |  Press Release  |  AT&T

Since 2020, AT&T's network has seen an annual 30% increase in traffic. This is the direct result of our progress enabling standalone 5G. Many of the newest mobile devices use the 5G standalone network that we are moving thousands of customers to every day. Advancements like network slicing will bring 5G to its full potential by delivering services designed to fit a specific need, and to address use cases with functionalities that require critical network access. Our mid-band 5G spectrum (including C-Band) now covers more than 175 million people, making AT&T the largest wireless network in North America.


altafiber Public-Private Partnerships Bear Fruit in Kentucky

Carl Weinschenk  |  telecompetitor

altafiber's gigabit broadband service is available to most single-family homes and business addresses in the Kentucky counties of Boone, Campbell, and Kenton. The projects were made possible through altafiber (formerly known as Cincinnati Bell) public-private partnerships that were announced in 2021: 

altafiber will continue to build fiber to multiple dwelling units and remaining single-family and business addresses that could not yet be completed due to issues involving railroad and construction permits.


Infinera onshores semiconductor production for BEAD compliance

Julia King  |  Fierce

Infinera will join the Build America, Buy America (BABA) movement by bringing semiconductor component manufacturing to the US. Infinera is joining a cohort of equipment providers that have onshored operations as the industry prepares for $42.5 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding. To help operators comply with the BEAD's BABA requirements, Infinera will leverage its optical compound semiconductor facility in California and testing and packaging facility in Pennsylvania. The provider noted domestic semiconductor production will enable improved supply chain security and resiliency for the US telecommunication industry.

AI/Social Media

The Supreme Court’s major questions doctrine and AI regulation

Blair Levin, Tom Wheeler  |  Analysis  |  Brookings

There is reason for optimism about the federal government stepping up to create a policy framework for artificial intelligence (AI) that will keep us safe while enabling innovations that will improve all our lives. But, beneath the surface, there is a shark in the water, ready to obstruct any congressional or administrative action. That shark is the Supreme Court’s “major questions doctrine.” Although Members of Congress have proposed to establish a new federal commission to protect consumers. However, would the commission’s important actions under the law survive a major questions challenge? The truth is we don’t know. The more important truth is nobody knows.

[Blair Levin is a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings Metro. Levin serves as a policy analyst with New Street Research, an equity research firm focused on telecommunications and technology. Tom Wheeler is a visiting fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. Wheeler is a businessman, author, and was Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) from 2013 to 2017.]

Submit a Story

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), Grace Tepper (grace AT benton DOT org), and David L. Clay II (dclay AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

© Benton Institute for Broadband & Society 2023. Redistribution of this email publication — both internally and externally — is encouraged if it includes this message. For subscribe/unsubscribe info email: headlines AT benton DOT org

Kevin Taglang

Kevin Taglang
Executive Editor, Communications-related Headlines
Benton Institute
for Broadband & Society
1041 Ridge Rd, Unit 214
Wilmette, IL 60091
headlines AT benton DOT org

Share this edition:

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society All Rights Reserved © 2023