Report on past event
The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing entitled Empowering and Connecting Communities Through Digital Equity and Internet Adoption.
Current research suggests that low-income people can only afford to pay about $10 monthly for broadband. Anything more competes with other utility bills and the cost of food. Meeting the goal of universal connectivity and providing fixed broadband at about $10 per month requires a multi-pronged strategy - what my Benton colleague Jonathan Sallet calls an “Affordability Agenda.” It includes:
Federal Communications Commission General Counsel Thomas Johnson faced a skeptical panel of judges of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as he defended the agency's repeal of net neutrality rules and deregulation of the broadband industry.
The Federal Trade Commission this week held another set of hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century. The hearings and public comment process this Fall and Winter will provide opportunities for FTC staff and leadership to listen to experts and the public on key privacy and antitrust issues facing the modern economy. The hearings are intended to stimulate thoughtful internal and external evaluation of the FTC’s near- and long-term law enforcement and policy agenda.
In lieu of delivering advertised remarks dubbed "American Pai: The Courageous Chairman of the FCC," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai received the National Rifle Association's (NRA) “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The NRA-sponsored award was given to Chairman Pai in recognition of months of heavy criticism over his successful push to repeal the agency’s network neutrality rules. Chairman Pai led the push to repeal the rules, which were overwhelmingly supported by the public.
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development met to reaffirm its call for digital cooperation, innovation with information and communication technologies (ICTs), and collaborative approaches to secure universal connectivity and access to digital skills.
Government officials, tech lobbyists, civil rights advocates and researchers participated in POLITICO’s inaugural tech summit: “At a Digital Crossroads: Washington and Silicon Valley.” Key takeaways include:
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program continues to have a positive impact on many communities nationwide, but persistent challenges to accessing the benefit limit full participation.
Acting Federal Communications Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said she’s pleased that the Senate infrastructure deal would codify the pandemic relief program known as the Emergency Broadband Benefit — but she is wary about one provision that would slash the monthly internet subsidy by 40 percent. “I do think it would be challenging for the agency to reduce the support from $50 a month to $30 a month,” she said.