Government & Communications

Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.

Democrats gear up for another attempt at confirming President Biden's tech nominees

Democrats are gearing up for another attempt at confirming President Joe Biden’s nominees for top posts at the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration after GOP objections stalled them in 2021. The three nominations — Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] for the open FCC seat, Alvaro Bedoya for the open FTC seat and Alan Davidson to head NTIA — technically expired when the December 2021 session ended.

FTC Chair Lina Khan Submits Comments on the CFPB's Inquiry Into Big Tech Platforms

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) concerning their inquiry into Big Tech payment platforms. Khan identified three areas of concern that she hopes can help to inform the CFPB's inquiry:

Affordable Connectivity Program Election Process Opens

Service providers who plan to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) could submit

House Republican Leaders Ask Administration for Detailed Accounting on Broadband Programs

House Republican Leaders sent a series of letters to federal agencies asking about steps they are taking to close the digital divide. The letters were sent by Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Oversight and Reform Republican Leader James Comer (R-KY), Appropriations Committee Republican Leader Kay Granger (R-TX), Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Agriculture Committee Republican Leader Glenn Thompson (R-PA).

NTIA Access Broadband 2021 Report

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released the first ACCESS BROADBAND Report, which highlights the accomplishments of NTIA’s recently established Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) over the past year.

Companies push for meeting about US and EU antitrust agendas with Commerce Secretary Raimondo

So far the bulk of the anger towards Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo over her skepticism about EU tech regulations has come from civil society groups, but the business community is now mobilizing. A coalition of eight companies, including Yelp, Genius, Felt, Patreon, Beeper and REX, wrote that they support the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act, the two EU rules Raimondo slammed during a recent US Chamber of Commerce event.

GSA Chief Shepherds President Biden's Government Modernization Efforts

General Services Administration (GSA) head Robin Carnahan is shepherding one of President Joe Biden’s most expansive government modernization efforts: fixing up its creaky, fragmented computer systems. She envisions a future in which people can access programs like food stamps and rental assistance as easily as they can order a pair of shoes. “We know that good policy gets sunk regularly if tech doesn’t work,” Carnahan said.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Response to Members of Congress Regarding the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel responded to a September 27 letter from Reps Roger Williams (R-TX), Ed Case (D-HI), and David Trone (D-MD) concerning the review process for long-form applications in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. Rosenworcel's response highlighted the steps the FCC has taken to "clean up the program before funding was made available to successful bidders" following the issue of some "questionable locations" chosen in the initial funding decisions.

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Responds to Broadband Mapping Timeline Request

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel responded to a September 30 letter from Rep Victoria Spartz (R-IN) requesting a timeline for the "completion of broadband maps" by the agency. "The FCC has made significant progress," said Rosenworcel in her response. "As I have said before, the best time to undertake this effort was five years ago, but the second best time is right now–and we are proceeding with speed in order to avoid any further delay." Rosenworcel provided updates on a number of agency requirements included in the Broadband DATA Act.

Kansas aims to win new businesses and residents with 2030 broadband goal

With an influx of federal funding for broadband development, the Kansas governor's office is championing a goal to have the state among the leaders in high-speed internet access by the end of the decade. "We understand how high the stakes are," said Lieutenant Gov and Commerce Secretary David Toland (D-KS).