Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.
Government & Communications
Senate Democrats likely won’t be setting up floor votes this week on President Biden’s long-pending Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission nominees, according to Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “We’re missing a few people,” she said, citing the absence of Sen Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) due to COVID-19, as well as a few other Democrats.
Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson named staff representatives to participate on each other’s advisory committees. This is a critical component of the FCC and National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s Spectrum Coordination Initiative, under which they are taking actions to strengthen the processes for decision making and information sharing and to work cooperatively to resolve spectrum policy issues.
Russia’s disconnection from the online services of the West has been as abrupt and complete as its disconnection from real-world global trade routes. The moves have raised fears of a “splinternet” (or Balkanized internet), in which instead of the single global internet we have today, we have a number of national or regional networks that don’t speak to one another and perhaps even operate using incompatible technologies. That would spell the end of the internet as a single global communications technology—and perhaps not only temporarily.
The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on spectrum policy entitled "5G and Beyond: Exploring the Next Wireless Frontier." The hearing covered a range of spectrum topics, including the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to conduct spectrum auctions. The FCC’s auction authority, which has been extended several times since originally granted in 1993, is set to expire on September 30, 2022.
Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) urged the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) to conduct an oversight review into pandemic-related spending to ensure broadband funds were used appropriately for assisting unserved communities and those economically affected by the pandemic. In response to the need for broadband amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress created multiple broadband accessibility programs that allocated billions of dollars to assist Americans in their participation in remote activities.
House Republicans Express Concerns With the Biden Administration's Statements on Health Misinformation Online
House Republican Leaders sent a letter to US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy regarding the Biden Administration's approach to COVID-19 related misinformation on tech platforms. "We write with significant concerns that the Biden Administration continues to undermine the First Amendment by pressuring technology companies to censor specific users and certain speech," reads the letter sent by Reps Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve Scalise (R-LA) and James Comer (R-KY). "The First Amendment prohibits the government from directly censoring speech it finds objectionable.
Russia is dropping a digital iron curtain over its population, creating a big, new fracture in the global internet—but there are still big gaps in President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cut off the country from online information accessible in much of the rest of the world. At the same time, more Western companies are pulling back some digital services from Russia under pressure from Western sanctions. It is too early to say how permanent the restrictions will be.
Rumors of Russian Internet services degrading have been greatly exaggerated, despite unprecedented announcements recently from two of the world’s biggest backbone providers that they were exiting the country following its invasion of Ukraine. Just as ISPs provide links connecting individuals or organizations to the Internet, backbone services are the service providers that connect ISPs in one part of the world with those elsewhere. These so-called transit providers route massive amounts of traffic from one ISP or backbone to another.
Consumer Reports (CR) is telling the Federal Communications Commission that, according to many of its members, some cable and telecom broadband operators are continuing to charge for modems or routers even when consumers are using their own equipment and the agency should investigate.