Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau approved an additional 26 funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Health care providers in both urban and rural areas of the country will use this $11.19 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 funded 56 health care providers in 23 states for a total of $24.9 million in funding.
The Federal Communications Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau granted conditional certification to MachineGenius to provide Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) using only automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. This is the first such grant and provides an opportunity for advanced technology to meet the FCC’s high reliability standards in providing captioned telephone service for deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans.
I called for this convening because I recognize that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are unique institutions and play a powerful role in this country. We must be proactive and create a comprehensive approach to combat existing and potential challenges to broadband access. And this moment serves as an opportunity to do what HBCUs have historically done for our communities—advocate. During my time at the Commission, I have focused my efforts on addressing internet inequality. And I use this term because we can no longer say that this is simply a digital divide.
The Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau, in consultation with the Enforcement Bureau, waives the broad outreach requirements of the FCC's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) recruitment rules in the limited circumstances relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Communications Commission announced that its decision to grant wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) temporary access to 5.9 GHz spectrum is helping them keep Americans connected during the coronavirus pandemic. In late March, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau began granting temporary access, called Special Temporary Authority (STA), to 5.9 GHz spectrum for WISPs serving largely rural and suburban communities. The STAs allow WISPs to use the lower 45 megahertz of the band to help serve their customers.
On March 19, 2020, Sens Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge the FCC to take action to ensure that all K-12 students in Minnesota have access to high-speed internet so they can continue their education while schools are closed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.