The nomination of Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O'Rielly for a new, five-year term on the FCC has been favorably reported out of the Senate Commerce Committee and now moves to the full Senate for a vote. Commissioner O'Rielly's term expired at the end of June 2019, but commissioners can continue to serve until the close of the next Congress. The new term would date from July 1, 2019. Wednesday's action came by voice vote, but with Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) voting no, even though, procedurally, she was the one to propose that it be reported favorably.
Public Knowledge, INCOMPAS, the Open Technology Institute and others warned Congress not to try to use the appropriations process -- via language in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) -- to undo the Federal Communications Commission's Ligado decision at the behest of the Defense Department, saying it would be tantamount to sabotaging the FCC's spectrum authority. The FCC has already unanimously granted the Ligado (formerly LightSquared) proposal to use satellite spectrum adjacent to GPS spectrum for terrestrial broadband so long as it meets various conditions to prevent in
The Federal Communications Commission either did or didn't vote to allow cable operators to charge leased access providers a tier-specific rate, but it was unclear what the vote meant (Leased access is the requirement that cable operators over a certain size lease a certain number of channels to unaffiliated programmers at regulated rates.) The issue arose around a Report and Order at the FCC's July 16 meeting.
An appropriations bill that would fund the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission includes language that would limit President Donald Trump's effort to regulate social media, as well as provide billions to help better identify and close the digital divide, and use secure technology to do so. The bill, which includes funding for a number of agencies and programs, has $67,040,000,000 in "emergency infrastructure investments to respond to the economic collapse related to the coronavirus," most of which ($61,040,000,000) would go to pay for expanding broadband in unserve