Full Spectrum returns with our newest series, FCC Open Meeting Recaps. These episodes will feature instant reaction and analysis following the FCC’s monthly Open Meetings, with an emphasis on the agenda items directly impacting our clients. This month, partners Tom Cohen, Hank Kelly and Chip Yorkgitis discuss key actions and topics from the March 16th
The FCC released its agenda for the next Commission Open Meeting, scheduled for January 27, 2022. The agency will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would require all broadband Internet access service providers (“ISPs”) to disclose information about various aspects of their service to consumers at the point of sale (“ISP NPRM”). The FCC will address a Report and Order that would amend the E-Rate program rules to clarify that Tribal libraries are eligible for E-Rate support (“E-Rate Tribal Order”). The commissioners also will consider a Second Order on Reconsideration and Order that would revise rules governing white space spectrum to ensure that wireless microphones are protected from harmful interference (“White Space Order”). In addition, the FCC will focus on an NPRM that would propose to amend the equipment authorization rules to incorporate updated technical standards (“Equipment NPRM”).
You will find more information about the items on the January meeting agenda after the break:…
Partner Hank Kelly will present “The Path to a Fully Connected America: Strategies for Expanding Broadband Access and Affordability” during The 2021 INCOMPAS Show’s Policy Workshop on October 25th. Getting and keeping Americans connected has become a priority for policymakers and industry leaders alike. The increased importance of broadband in the wake of the pandemic…
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will keynote “Legal Code: Reframing the Divide by Addressing Broadband Access Through Affordability and Inclusion”, a virtual event co-hosted by Kelley Drye and Silicon Flatirons on May 12th from 2:00-4:00 PM (ET) that will explore issues surrounding broadband affordability. The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on the Digital Divide and Digital Inequality, and with it, illuminated the broader issue of digital inclusion and internet access as a civil right. Over the last four years, efforts to close the Digital Divide have been geared largely toward access to networks in rural America, but pandemic related displacement is driving a shift in focus toward affordability in both rural and urban areas. This shift is most clearly evidenced by the recently adopted Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which gives broadband providers the unique opportunity to help fight Digital Inequality by offering subsidized discounts on robust Internet service and connected devices capable of helping low-income Americans connect to classrooms, jobs, and telehealth. Other recent efforts include the schools and libraries-focused Emergency Connectivity Fund, which aims to address a homework gap that transformed into a school-year-long remote learning gap.
This event will examine the pandemic’s impact on how we think about the digital divide and digital inequality, the new administration’s approach, and related activity in Congress, at the FCC, and at other federal agencies.
Introduction & Opening Remarks
- Amie Stepanovich, Executive Director, Silicon Flatirons
- Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator for Oregon
Panel: Conceptualizing and Navigating Paths to Affordability and Inclusion
- John J. Heitmann (Moderator), Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
- Kate Black, Acting Chief Policy Advisor, Federal Communications Commission
- Jose Cortes, Chair, Regulatory and Government Affairs Committee, National Lifeline Association
- Claire Park, Policy Program Associate, New America’s Open Technology Institute
- Trinity Thorpe-Lubneuski, Senior Director, Internet Essentials, Comcast
Click here for more information and to register.…
2021 is well underway and the new leadership at the FCC is taking shape. While we don’t yet know who will fill the Chair on a permanent basis, the FCC under Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel is proceeding without delay. So far, the Commission has tackled ongoing issues of bipartisan support, including broadband mapping, communications supply chain security and preventing 911 fee diversion. But the biggest challenges ahead are in the universal service fund and, specifically, efforts to bridge the digital divide.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at developments in the FCC’s $9 billion-per-year Federal Universal Service Fund and more recent pandemic-related efforts to address deficiencies in broadband access that have been exposed by our year of remote work, school and social activities.…
The upcoming election will bring changes to the FCC, regardless of which party wins the White House. In this episode of Kelley Drye’s Full Spectrum, the Communications group is joined by Dana Wood, co-chair of Kelley Drye’s Government Relations and Public Policy (GRPP) practice, for a discussion of the potential organizational and policy changes…
Americans who lack high-speed broadband internet access are caught on the wrong side of the “Digital Divide,” with students facing a “homework gap” and adults, and even entire communities, facing an “opportunity gap” that impacts everything from jobs, education, and healthcare to sustainability and well-being. This episode of Kelley Drye’s Legal Download discusses…
The FCC plans to create a new “5G Fund” offering up to $9 billion over ten years to support the deployment of wireless broadband and voice services in rural and other hard-to-serve areas. Under a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) adopted at the FCC’s April meeting, the 5G Fund would operate as the wireless counterpart to the wireline-focused Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) approved earlier this year and replace Phase II of the Mobility Fund, which the FCC mothballed in 2018 after questions arose about reported coverage data. The NPRM proposes awarding funding through auction in two phases. Phase I would provide up to $8 billion in support, with $680 million reserved for deployments on Tribal lands. Phase II would provide up to $1 billion (plus any funding remaining after Phase I) for deployments for precision agriculture and particularly hard-to-serve areas like farms and ranches. The 5G Fund would exclude areas covered by the recently-approved T-Mobile/Sprint merger, which included a commitment to serve 90% of rural Americans within six years. The NPRM is just the first step towards launching the 5G Fund and presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to provide their input on the fundamental policies and procedures the will govern the new program.
Continue Reading FCC Proposes 5G Fund for Rural Wireless Networks, But Timing Remains Uncertain
At its last open meeting in 2017, the five FCC Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Order regarding the Commission’s Rural Health Care (RHC) Program, a 20-year old initiative aimed at improving rural health care provider access to first telecommunications services and later an array of communications services, including Internet access, dark fiber, and business data services. This item is part of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s overall initiative to close the “digital divide,” and proposes to increase the $400 million spending cap for the first time since 1997. The NPRM also proposes to change how the FCC handles demand beyond the cap, from general proration to prioritization based on rurality or remoteness. As such, all interested stakeholders should carefully monitor and consider participating in the rulemaking process. Comments will be due 30 days after publication of the item in the Federal Register (which usually takes a few weeks) and reply comments will be due 60 days after publication.
Continue Reading FCC Votes on Possible Changes to the Rural Health Care Program
On February 23, 2017, during the second open meeting under Chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) unanimously approved an order launching the long-awaited second phase of the Mobility Fund. The Mobility Fund offers financial support to service providers to preserve and extend mobile broadband and voice services in unserved and underserved areas. The FCC’s order will provide up to $4.53 billion over the next decade to expand 4G LTE coverage to areas currently lacking that level of service, with $340 million reserved for Tribal areas. This order is one component of Chairman Pai’s focus on bridging the digital divide. The full text of the FCC’s order and further notice of proposed rulemaking has not been released.
Continue Reading Commission Adopts Long-Awaited Mobility Fund Phase II