Voqal

Success of Rural Tribal Window Demonstrates Need for Rural Education Window

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever Rural Tribal Priority Window (TPW) came to a close. This special spectrum application window allowed for rural tribal nations to apply for valuable Educational Broadband Service (EBS) frequencies over their lands that had never been licensed. The agency received applications for spectrum on 266 separate tribal lands; 418 applications and amendments were filed in all. The decision to auction unassigned EBS was made in a July 2019 FCC rulemaking regarding EBS. But is auctioning the remaining EBS spectrum the right decision?

How Increasing Broadband Competition Can Address the Adoption Gap

Much of the focus in policy circles has been on how to expand broadband access to those Americans without it. This is a worthy goal, but we should not lose sight of the magnitude of the other part of the digital divide: the adoption gap. FCC data shows about 35% or approximately 114 million Americans do not subscribe to broadband service at their homes. Cost is often cited as the leading factor for why Americans do not subscribe to broadband even when it is offered. Clearly, we need a strategy to address this gap, too.

How C-Band Auction Revenues can Address the Digital Divide

Current law requires that spectrum auction proceeds are automatically deposited in the US Treasury, barring a few exceptions. Legislation would be required to direct C-Band auction proceeds to other causes, such as a transition fund or incentive payments to satellite operators. The Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill called the 5G Spectrum Act, which would direct at least 50% of C-Band auction proceeds to the Treasury and 10% to rural broadband.

How Will Congress Spend Over $40 Billion in C-Band Auction Revenues?

In the race to 5G, American wireless companies are sorely lacking one essential ingredient: mid-band spectrum. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that  the FCC will pursue a public auction of a portion of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz spectrum band – also known as the C-Band – by the end of 2020. Senate Commerce Committee approved S. 2881, C-Band legislation that would modify the automatic Treasury deposit.

Congress, Tribes Again Expresses Concern with FCC’s EBS Tribal Window Rollout

It has been over 4 months since the Federal Communications Commission voted to overhaul the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum band (2.5 GHz) and prepare it for commercial auction. As EBS licensees, Voqal strongly opposed the FCC’s decision because it was an enormous missed opportunity not only to strengthen educational benefits but also to close the homework gap and digital divide in rural areas.

New Broadband Report Outlines Road Map for Addressing the Digital Divide

Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s is a magnum opus of broadband policy for the forthcoming decade. While there are dozens of important insights offered by the paper, perhaps the most important, are those focused on solutions to connect students who lack broadband access at home. According to estimates, 70% of teachers reportedly assign homework that requires internet access. Yet, according to the FCC’s 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, 39.8% of homes do not subscribe to high-speed broadband.