Federal Agency

Mediacom fiber expansion drives low-cost connectivity for Iowa

Mediacom has completed a fiber-optic network expansion in rural Truesdale (IA), delivering phone plans and download speeds of up to 2 Gbps with a focus on low-cost accessibility. Truesdale is the tenth community that Mediacom, the fifth largest cable operator in the US, has constructed through collaboration with the Empower Iowa Rural Broadband Grant Program. The operator has expanded its fiber network to over 1,400 locations in rural Iowa through that public-private partnership.

Another campaign, another outrage over ‘free phones’

Former President Donald Trump questioned who was paying for the phones of illegal aliens, suggesting that the federal government is handing out high-quality cellphones to migrants as part of its purported efforts to flood the country with immigrants. This is the latest iteration of the political right’s frustration with the idea that the government (and, particularly, an incumbent Democratic president) is spending money on frivolous giveaways (in their estimation) to poor people of color. The government does have a program in which people seeking asylum are given mobile devices.

FTC Sues Amazon, Alleging Illegal Online-Marketplace Monopoly

The Federal Trade Commission and 17 states sued Amazon, alleging the online retailer illegally wields monopoly power that keeps prices artificially high, locks sellers into its platform, and harms its rivals. The FTC and states alleged that Amazon violated antitrust laws by using anti-discounting measures that punished merchants for offering lower prices elsewhere.

The Fifth FCC Commissioner

Anna Gomez is the newest, and fifth, Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. This may allow the FCC to pursue a Democratic agenda to tackle various issues:

Possible Revision or Elimination of FCC Rules

The Federal Communication Commission invites the general public to comment on the Commission’s rules to be reviewed pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980. The purpose of the review is to determine whether rules that the FCC adopted in calendar years 2007–2012 should be continued without change, amended, or rescinded in order to minimize any significant impact the rule(s) may have on a substantial number of small entities.

Senators Call on FCC to Restore Authority Over Broadband, Net Neutrality Protections

Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) led 25 of their Senate colleagues in writing to Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expeditiously reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act and restore net neutrality protections. Doing so will allow the FCC to effectively protect consumers from harmful practices online, promote affordable access to the internet, enhance public safety, increase marketplace competition, and take other important steps to benefit our nation’s digital future.

Connecting neighbors to high-speed Internet service in rural Texas

In August, I had the pleasure of visiting Totelcom’s—a family-owned, rural telecommunications provider—offices and training facilities in De Leon, Texas. The visit provided insight into the work and challenges of rural providers, and how much those challenges can vary across a state as vast and geographically diverse as Texas. Totelcom trains its workers on the job by partnering new employees with more experienced staff who show them the ropes and provide valuable mentorship.

Universal Service Fund Under Fire

There have been several lawsuits over the last few years that challenge the legitimacy of the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund (USF). A suit from a non-profit group called Consumers’ Research argues that USF fees are taxes and that the original creation of the USF was unconstitutional since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave the FCC the power to levy taxes.

NTIA, Department of Defense Announce Final Winners of the 2023 5G Challenge

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD), announced the final winners of the 2023 5G Challenge and its $7,000,000 total prize purse. NTIA has awarded $3,000,000, the largest of the 2023 5G Challenge total prize purse, to the Stage Four: Mobility winning contestant team, Lions-NewEdge-Mavenir-Radisys.

FCC Republican Pushes Against Idea Of Net Neutrality Revival

Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, a longtime opponent of net neutrality rules, blasted the idea of bringing back regulations now that Democrats have a majority at the agency again. He said that recent Supreme Court law makes clear that a net neutrality revival would not survive legal challenges, meaning that any effort to craft rules would sap time from a FCC that should be focused elsewhere.