Federal Communications Commission
Congratulations to my friend and colleague Jessica Rosenworcel on her designation as acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission. For many years, Jessica has been a passionate advocate for bringing the benefits of broadband to all Americans—particularly our children. Her designation comes at a critical juncture for the Commission, as COVID-19 has made bold action to end internet inequality more vital than ever. I look forward to working with her to close the digital divide and on the wide range of pressing issues facing the Commission.
Over the past four years, we have delivered results for the American people, from narrowing the digital divide to advancing American leadership in 5G, from protecting consumers and national security to keeping Americans connected during the pandemic, from modernizing our media rules to making the agency more transparent and nimble. It has been a privilege to lead the agency over its most productive period in recent history. None of this—not a single action, big or small—would have been possible without the incredible staff of the FCC.
The Federal Communications Commission denied a request to stay its unanimous decision to authorize Ligado Networks to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network using portions of its licensed spectrum.
“From my first day as Chairman, the FCC’s top priority has been closing the digital divide. It’s heartening to see these numbers, which demonstrate that we’ve been delivering results for the American people,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “In just three years, the number of American consumers living in areas without access to fixed broadband at 25/3 Mbps has been nearly cut in half. I’ve personally met some of these consumers, from Mandan, North Dakota to Ethete, Wyoming.
The Federal Communications Commission released its annual Broadband Deployment Report. The gap between urban and rural Americans with access to 25/3 Mbps fixed broadband service fell from 30 percentage points at the end of 2016 to 16 points at the end of 2019. Additionally, more than three-quarters of those Americans in areas newly served in 2019 (nearly 3.7 million) live in rural areas, bringing the number of rural Americans in areas served by at least 25/3 Mbps broadband service to nearly 83%, up 15 points since 2016.
FCC Establishes the Digital Opportunity Data Collection and Modernizes the FCC Form 477 Data Program
The Federal Communications Commission adopted additional rules for the Digital Opportunity Data Collection to help ensure that the FCC collects precise and accurate broadband deployment data in its mission to close the digital divide. The new rules specify which fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service providers are required to report availability and/or coverage data, and adopt requirements for reporting speed and latency for fixed technologies.
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr announced that Greg Watson has joined his office as Policy Advisor. Prior to joining Commissioner Carr’s office, Greg served as a Policy Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer of the United States in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he led efforts to increase broadband access through the American Broadband Initiative. He was also involved with the Administration’s efforts to advance America’s leadership in 5G.