Federal Communications Commission
Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Response to Senators Wicker and Thune Regarding Keeping Americans Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic
On February 12, Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel raising concerns about the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) long-term sustainability as a mechanism to close the nation’s digital divide.
To participate in the Federal Communications Commission's new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, broadband providers must submit information to the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Accordingly, the Bureau announces the following milestone dates for the provider application and election processes. For providers that haven't previously participated in federal assistance programs, a portal to file applications will open on Monday, March 8.
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr is in Mississippi for events focused on his 5G jobs initiative, which centers on standing up community college and trade school programs so that Americans earn the skills needed to land good-paying jobs in the tower and telecommunication industries. Those programs have already been launched in SC, SD, NC, and OK. His visits will also focus on telehealth, infrastructure builds, and enhanced use of technology in K-12 classrooms.
Request for comments: Restoring Internet Freedom Report and Order / Extension of information collection
The Office of Management and Budget seeks comments on continuing information collection requirements applicable to internet service providers (ISPs) in the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Report and Order. The rule requires ISPs to disclose their congestion management, application-specific behavior, device attachment rules, and security practices, as well as any blocking, throttling, affiliated prioritization, or paid prioritization in which they engage.
With today’s vote, the Federal Communications Commission Commission acts swiftly to implement a program that will help those most affected by the pandemic to stay connected to the those who mean the most to them. Yet while the Commission has acted quickly, today’s order creates thoughtful, fair, and sensible policies. I could not be prouder of, or more humbled by, the diligent work of the employees across the agency, particularly those in the Wireline Competition Bureau. I am further thankful to my dedicated staff for their contributions leading up to this vote.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit will reach more disconnected low-income households and people of color than any previous FCC effort to close the digital divide
In June of 2020, I co-authored an op-ed with leaders Reverend Al Sharpton, Vanita Gupta, Marc Morial, and Maurita Coley entitled, Broadband Access Is a Civil Right We Can’t Afford to Lose—But Many Can’t Afford to Have.1 The first line in that piece reads: “There is a broadband emergency in America.” I am deeply proud of today’s action that follows through with that fierce urgency of now.
I differ from my colleagues on a few of the issues we address today. But it is imperative that we come together, compromise, and find common ground so that we can stand up this program. For instance, while I would have preferred that we prioritize the needs of students, I remain pleased that the program we stand up today will benefit school kids. Indeed, we include several paths to participation for families with school-aged children, thus ensuring that we have stood up a program that will put dollars directly towards the monthly Internet bills of families with children.
Adopting these rules today is just the first step. So what happens next? First, for this program to be a success, we need the assistance of local organizations, national organizations, schools, faith-based institutions, and others who are trusted voices in their communities, to help get the word out and encourage those in need to enroll. To make it easy for those who are interested in helping, we have a website dedicated to this program that includes a place for outreach partners to learn how they can get the word out.