Federal Communications Commission
On March 21, 2020 Reps Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge the FCC to immediately loosen requirements of the Rural Health Care Program (RHCP) to expand eligibility to more healthcare facilities. They wrote, "Following Hurricane Katrina, the FCC loosened restrictions on the RHCP to allow non-rural providers to apply for support under the program.
The Federal Communications Commission approved an additional 53 funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Health care providers in both urban and rural areas of the country will use this $18.22 million in funding to provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. To date, the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which was authorized by the CARES Act, has approved funding for 185 health care providers in 38 states plus Washington, DC for a total of $68.22 million in funding. Below is a list of health care providers that were approved for funding:
On May 7, 2020, several Members of Congress wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to express deep concern about the FCC's approval of Ligado Networks request to modify licenses. "The national security community was unanimous in the judgement that approval of the use of certain portions of the L band spectrum could pose an unacceptable risk to the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the United States.
Chairman Pai Response to Senators Regarding Inmate Calling Services and Keep Americans Connected Pledge
On April 15, 2020, 19 senators wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge the FCC to immediately call on telecommunications providers serving law enforcement facilities across the nation to provide free phone calls and video visitations to incarcerated and detained individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FCC, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Advise Governors on Importance of Communications
In joint letters Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs encouraged the nation's governors to provide necessary access and resources to the communications workers helping to keep Americans connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC and CISA recommend the governors:
In this Order, we adopt the attached Consent Decree entered into between the Federal Communications Commission and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Sinclair).
On April 27, 2020, a group of representatives, led by Congressional Native American Caucus Co-Chairs Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Tom Cole (R-OK), wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the FCC to "grant Tribal Nations and their eligible tribal entities an emergency Special Temporary Authority (STA) to employ the use, on a secondary non-interference basis, of 2.5 GHz spectrum and other efficient, available, and cost effective spectrum on all tribal lands to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its current and future effects in Indian Country."
On March 19, 2020, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai regarding keeping Lifeline subscribers connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. "We strongly urge the FCC to commit that no one loses access to Lifeline at this time of crisis. Congress has invested the FCC with emergency powers to waive, suspend, or revise its policies and regulations for challenging times.