Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration to establish Round 2 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, a $249.95 million federal initiative that builds on the $200 million program established as part of the CARES Act. The FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program supports the efforts of health care providers to continue serving their patients by providing telecommunications services, information services, and connected devices necessary to enable telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A spending plan from the Federal Communications Commission in accordance with section 15011(b)(1)(B) of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Pub. L. No 116-136, as amended by Title VIII of Division O of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Pub. L. No. 116-260. The requirement in section 15011 of the CARES Act states that each agency shall submit to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee a plan describing how the agency will use its covered funds.
On March 8, 2021, Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS), Communication Subcommittee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD), House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Latta (R-OH) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel expressing surprise that Acting Chair Rosenworcel testified that the FCC could improve broadband maps within three-to-six months, but that the FCC suggested recently that new maps would not be ready until 2022.
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr announced that Danielle Thumann has joined his office as Legal Advisor. Ben Arden, who has been serving as a Legal Advisor in Commissioner Carr’s Office since 2019, will serve as Carr’s Chief of Staff.
The Federal Communications Commission announced it will begin collecting first-hand accounts on broadband availability and service quality directly from consumers as part of its Broadband Data Collection program. A new webpage, www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData, explains the FCC’s program and provides direct links to consumer resources including a new “share your broadband experience” option.