Senate Commerce Committee
Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable (FAIR) Contributions Act. The legislation would direct the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a study into the feasibility of collecting Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions from internet edge providers such as YouTube, Netflix, and Google. The FAIR Contributions Act would:
Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Broadband Subcommittee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to request a status update on the Federal Communications Commission's long-form application review process for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. The auction awarded $9.2 billion over ten years to over 300 bidders to deploy high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses in 49 states.
Ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee Roger Wicker (R-MS) sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) asking the agency to reassess its data collection processes and sources, and to use only the most up-to-date and accurate data as it updates its map.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved a number of bills and nominations in executive session including two of particular interest:
The Senate Commerce Committee approved the presidential nomination of Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island, to be Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce. The vote was 21-3. Gove Raimondo has said she will work with Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to stand up an Office of Connectivity and Growth “to amplify the work of NTIA’s BroadbandUSA” activities. And not only is she a no on nationalizing 5G but she is “unaware of any present intention” to build such a government network.
The House of Representatives’ end of the year omnibus includes:
More than $7 billion in broadband funding as part of COVID-19 relief to:
The Senate Commerce Committee approved the nomination of Nathan Simington, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission. The vote was 14-12 along party lines. The nomination now goes before the full Senate. Senate Democrats said that Simington is not qualified to be an FCC commissioner and that he misrepresented his work in the Trump administration during the committee's confirmation process.