What's on the agenda for policymakers.
This meeting will be conducted in an electronic format and open to the public via audio teleconference (866–652–3435 participant code 28570198).
Last year, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Mozilla v. Federal Communications Commission in which the court largely upheld the Commission’s 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order that reversed the Obama Administration’s 2015 decision to apply common carrier regulation to the Internet. While the court upheld the bulk of the agency’s actions as reasonable under the Supreme Court’s rulings in Chevron and Brand X, the court also found that the agency lacked plenary preemption authority over state efforts to regulate the Internet under the FCC’s theory of the case.
In the U.S. and Canada, rural and remote areas are the hardest to reach and most under-connected. Native communities face unique barriers for connecting to the Internet, which is a powerful tool to preserve cultures and languages; devices and apps can offer local languages, and community members can create their own cultural content. The panel will explore how Internet access can protect native cultures and community engagement can foster connectivity.
Like most other aspects of life, the ongoing pandemic has disrupted the federal government’s plans to disburse grants, loans, and subsidies for the construction of rural broadband networks. But unlike the sporting events and concerts that can be put on an indefinite hold, these funds are now needed more than ever by the Internet access providers trying to connect rural households during a time when everything has moved online.
COVID-19 and enforced physical distancing has made it clear just how vital digital technologies are to work, commerce, education, and entertainment. The new digital reality is likely to have permanent repercussions for enterprises and society as society relies increasingly on the digital world. Shifts to more online and IT-driven health care, manufacturing, retail, education, and other sectors will only accelerate. What will this mean for existing organizations? Start-ups? Government agencies?
As COVID-19 pandemic rapidly unfolds, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), Congress, and states have been active to keep communications services available through various waivers and actions. Kelley Drye’s Communications practice group is tracking these actions and what they mean for communications service providers.
In the scramble to combat COVID-19, a number of worrying initiatives have been proposed, both here and abroad, to fight this virus. This has included geotracking individuals to see if they are complying with social distancing, directing individuals to screening tools that don't have to comply with health privacy laws, and publishing the identities of those who have been infected. While personal data collection and analysis may be necessary to fight the virus, it's important to be conscious of the potential harms that could arise from those uses.
Cable operators are telling the Federal Communications Commission that if it wants to attract cable operators and other terrestrial broadband providers to its massive subsidy program for rural broadband buildouts, it should retain census blocks as the smallest biddable unit in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction. NCTA–The Internet & Television Association has suggested that if the FCC goes big, cable operator bidders may stay home.
The committee and witnesses will submit written statements, questions, and answers to examine recent uses of aggregate and anonymized consumer data to identify potential hotspots of coronavirus transmission and to help accelerate the development of treatments. The committee will also examine how consumers’ privacy rights are being protected and what the U.S. government plans to do with COVID-related data collected at the end of this national emergency.
- Gary Bolton, Vice President Global Marketing, ADTRAN
- Ryan Keel, Vice President - Technical Operations, EPB
- Jon Sallet, Benton Senior Fellow, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society