As Tennessee voters head to the polls, Senate candidate Phil Bredesen (D) is taking aim at Rep Marsha Blackburn’s legacy on broadband. In a recent campaign ad, former-Gov Bredesen calls out the House Telecommunications Subcommittee chair for having “voted against $600 million in broadband initiatives.” At issue: Blackburn’s March 2018 vote against the sprawling omnibus government funding bill that contained a series of committee-negotiated tech legislation central to Blackburn’s panel.
Congress is angling to impose some training wheels on the Trump administration when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars on broadband deployment. Lawmakers are eyeing the reconciliation process for the farm bill as a way to check the Agriculture Department, which manages various telecom subsidies through its Rural Utilities Service (RUS). “Appropriate guidance in the farm bill being reconciled and the department’s continued vigilance are critical to avoiding another boondoggle,” said a Senate GOP aide, referring to past alleged waste in the program.
I rise today to talk about the truth, and its relationship to democracy. For without truth, and a principled fidelity to truth and to shared facts, our democracy will not last. 2017 was a year which saw the truth – objective, empirical, evidence-based truth -- more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government. It was a year which saw the White House enshrine “alternative facts” into the American lexicon, as justification for what used to be known simply as good old-fashioned falsehoods.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition, Color of Change, NAACP and the Benton Foundation are among the organizations concerned about proposed changes to the Lifeline program, which is on the docket for the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming open meeting. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai -- who has long called for reforms to deter waste, fraud and abuse in Lifeline -- is seeking a vote at the agency’s Nov. 16 meeting on a major overhaul of the program, which subsidizes phone and broadband service for the poor.
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr is urging Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to publicly release the draft text of a forthcoming proposal allocating $7.1 billion in pandemic relief subsidies for distance learning. Commissioner Carr says she should publish it before commissioners vote on the item to make it easier to coordinate with the Departments of Education and Treasury on broadband spending, which he sees as a matter of good governance with taxpayer money.
Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel revealed just how soon she hopes to set up the $7 billion subsidy program aimed at helping students get internet connections at home. Congress slated this money for the FCC as part of the pandemic relief package that President Joe Biden signed into law in march. The FCC is still “mid-course in developing” the program for doling out these subsidies, which could help put Wi-Fi hotspots and modems in the hands of students stuck at home, said Chairman Rosenworcel.
A group of leaders with direct lines to the Biden administration—including Common Sense Media’s Jim Steyer, former Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA), and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings—is launching a commission that will assemble a “blueprint” for a comprehensive tech policy agenda under President Biden, with a focus on soliciting input from people inside as well as outside DC. There’s still a ton we don’t know about where the Biden administration will come down on issues at the heart of the tech industry, like privacy and Section 230 reform.
A coalition including broadband heavyweights AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon is asking Congress and President Joe Biden to build off the recent $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit and craft “a long-term federally-funded broadband benefit program that the [Federal Communications Commission] would manage and administer to provide low-income individuals with enhanced fi
White House officials met privately with the CEOs of trade groups representing smaller internet service providers: America's Communications Association, the Competitive Carriers Association, NTCA, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Rural Wireless Association and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association. Although some bigger ISPs balk at Biden’s proposal, these smaller trade groups have been playing a more carefu