Federal Communications Commission
In a joint letter, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Brandon Presley have written to NARUC Commissioners around the US to raise awareness of the federal Lifeline program, which helps eligible low-income consumers access affordable broadband and phone services. Many Americans may be newly unemployed or face other circumstances that make them eligible for Lifeline for the first time. Yet, they may also be unaware either of their eligibility or how to apply for the program.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced the extension of his Keep Americans Connected Pledge until June 30, 2020. While the FCC encourages all providers that have signed the pledge previously to extend their commitments to June 30, we understand that some providers, particularly those in small markets and rural areas, may not be able to do so as a result of financial challenges. Those providers should contact [email protected] by May 12 if they wish to opt out of the extension.
The Federal Communications is charged with “encourag[ing] the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans . . . by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.” Available evidence demonstrates that the digital divide continues to narrow as more Americans than ever before have access to high-speed broadband.
The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) released updated data showing that from December 2016 to December 2018, the number of Americans without any options for at least 250/25 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service plummeted by 74%, from 181.7 million to 47 million. And during that same time period, the number of Americans with no options for at least 25/3 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service fell by 30%, from 26.1 million to 18.3 million.
In Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the vast majority of the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 decision to end net neutrality protections. However, the court also remanded three discrete issues for further consideration by the FCC. On February 6, 2020, the D.C. Circuit denied all pending petitions for rehearing, and the Court issued its mandate on February 18, 2020. With this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau seeks to refresh the record regarding the issues remanded to the FCC by the Mozilla Court.
The Federal Communications Commission is charged with “encourag[ing] the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans,” by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market. For the past two years, the FCC has taken up the mantle; it has made closing the digital divide between Americans with, and without, access to modern broadband networks its top priority.
Two of the Federal Communications Commission’s top priorities are closing the digital divide in rural America and advancing United States leadership in 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity. The commitments made today by T-Mobile and Sprint would substantially advance each of these critical objectives.
Allegations of improprieties related to the Commission's review of the merger between Sinclair and Tribune
In response to requests from Congress made on November 13 and November 15. 20! 7, the Federal Communications Commission Oflice of Inspector General (OlG) conducted an investigation into whether FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Chairman Pai "has taken actions to improperly benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group and "is executing his leadership of the FCC free from influences that compromise his objectivity and impartiality," especially with regard to the proposed merger of Sinclair and Tribune Media."
On June 28, 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Company filed applications seeking to transfer control of Tribune subsidiaries to Sinclair. Sinclair and Tribune have amended their applications several times thereafter, in an attempt to bring the transaction into compliance with the Commission’s national television multiple ownership rule, as well as the public interest requirements of the Communications Act.
Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction. The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law. When the FCC confronts disputed issues like these, the Communications Act does not allow it to approve a transaction. Instead, the law requires the FCC to designate the transaction for a hearing in order to get to the bottom of those disputed issues.