Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.
Government & Communications
An unexpected perfect storm of public policy variables is gathering and it could cause America’s 5G spectrum pipeline to run dry by year’s end. Under the leadership of newly-confirmed Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, our former agency, the Federal Communications Commission, is currently winding down a spectrum auction that will supply lifeblood to America’s emerging 5G ecosystem while generating nearly $22 billion in federal revenue. Unfortunately, this is the last scheduled auction of its kind.
Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] could be running into more Republican and industry headwinds in the Biden administration's effort to get a Democratic majority on the agency.
Nonprofit newsrooms like States Newsroom keep close tabs on the state legislatures and regulatory agencies where decisions are being made that affect many aspects of daily life for citizens: taxes, environmental rules, health care policy, school funding, workers rights and much more.
The Federal Trade Commission has hit back against the US Chamber of Commerce, denying 35 of the 37 public records requests filed by the lobbying group about the FTC’s voting rules, policy statements and plans to fine businesses who break the law. The Chamber had come out swinging before Thanksgiving, accusing the agency of “going rogue” with its actions.
On November 29, Chair of the Minnesota Governor's Task Force on Broadband Teddy Bekele and members of the Task Force sent a letter to Gov Tim Walz (D-MN) urging the state government to expedite the distribution of federal broadband funding. In the letter, Bekele and the Task Force cite American Rescue Plan funds that the state is slated to receive, specifically through the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, that would bolster the Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure grant program.
For years, the Federal Communications Commission has administered the Universal Service Fund (USF), overseeing four programs designed to bring connectivity to rural areas, to target institutions like schools, libraries and healthcare facilities and to low-income consumers. Temporary COVID-19 connectivity programs appear to have presaged a shift from the FCC defining universal service programs to Congress appropriating funding and directing the future of universal service, all the while shifting the primary administrator of the funding.
In an unexpected twist, two conservative news networks — Newsmax and One America News Network— have come out in support of President Biden's progressive Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society], despite a broad conservative consensus against her. If Sohn is confirmed, her appointment would give Democrats the majority they need to rewrite regulations for the communications sector.
Public safety officials fear the nation's 911 centers will continue to languish in the analog era, after Democrats slashed proposed funding for a digital makeover in their social spending bill.