Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.
A glut of major tech policy bills await action as Congress' summer recess looms — and anything that doesn't pass by then is unlikely to pass at all in a midterm election season. The ambitious tech agenda this Congress started out with 18 months ago is getting squeezed out by other legislative priorities, including gun control, the Jan. 6 investigation, and the economy. Here's what's in the queue:
Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Fiscal Year 2023 Financial Services and General Government Funding Bill
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government today approved by voice vote its fiscal year 2023 bill. For fiscal year 2023, the bill includes $29.8 billion in funding, an increase of $4.3 billion (17 percent) over fiscal year 2022. The bill provides annual funding for certain federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission.
Congress hasn't budged on President Biden's pick for a key tie-breaking Federal Communications Commission seat as the clock ticks down on the chance for a vote.
Dell is working with Dish to create a private 5G wireless network, and needs 12 GHz spectrum – the radio frequency used to carry wireless information for services like TV and radio broadcasting, mobile phones and Wi-Fi to communications systems – in order to launch the network. But there are a few problems Dell and Dish have to figure out first. The Federal Communications Commission will have to decide whether to hand that limited resource over to Dell and Dish to create their network.
Republicans who think there is no downside to dragging Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society]’s confirmation out interminably to block Title II — especially those who voted in favor of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) and are looking for that broadband money to begin flowing to their states — may wish to think again. Why?
The Biden administration has charged the Federal Communications Commission with prohibiting digital discrimination — but without a third Democratic commissioner to break the agency's partisan deadlock, those plans are in trouble. One of President Biden's key domestic priorities, improving internet access and affordability, can't advance unless the Senate confirms his FCC nominee.
Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan has a chance to work her way down her Big Tech to-do list, nearly a year into her tenure, now that she has a Democratic majority in hand. The Senate voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a tie — to confirm privacy expert Alvaro Bedoya to the FTC. The Democrats' majority at the five-person agency now opens the door for Khan's agenda, expected to include:
The Senate on May 11 voted to confirm law professor Alvaro Bedoya to serve on the Federal Trade Commission, solidifying a Democratic majority at the agency that will enable FTC Chair Lina Khan to move on her ambitious agenda to rein in Big Tech’s power. Fifty senators voted in favor while 50 voted against. Vice President Harris cast the tiebreaking vote in her role as president of the Senate.
Sen Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says the pandemic confirmed internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity in rural America. “Across the country 17.3 percent of Americans in rural areas don’t have access to reliable broadband, compared to only 1 percent of Americans in urban areas,” Gillibrand said. Gillibrand said that’s why she’s pushing to fully fund the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Broadband Program, using $350 million to get rural Americans online.
We strongly urge you to take concerted action to promote the nomination of Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. Sohn has been a long-time advocate for internet freedom, consumer protection, and digital inclusivity. The FCC cannot move forward on several significant public interest issues until Ms. Sohn is confirmed by the full US Senate.