As required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”), on February 25, 2021, the FCC adopted a Report and Order to officially establish the Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) Program. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in virtual services and learning, access to broadband services has now become essential for most households. With this in mind, the program is designed to provide broadband services to help low-income households in particular stay connected. We have summarized the program and noted some key provisions and next steps for the FCC and potential participating providers. The program is temporary, and will expire when funds have been exhausted or 6 months after the Health and Human Services Secretary declares the end of the nationwide COVID-19 health emergency.

Continue Reading FCC Implements $50/Month Broadband Subsidy For Low-Income Households

As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly unfolds, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has been active to keep communications services available through various waivers, extensions, and other regulatory relief. Kelley Drye’s Communications Practice Group is tracking these actions and what they mean for communications service providers and their customers. CommLaw Monitor will provide regular updates to its analysis of the latest regulatory and legislative actions impacting your business and the communications industry. Click on the “COVID-19” blog category for previous updates.

If you have any urgent questions, please contact your usual Kelley Drye attorney or any member of the Communications Practice Group. For more information on other aspects of the federal and state response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as labor and employment and other issues, please visit Kelley Drye’s COVID-19 Response Resource Center.


Continue Reading COVID-19: What Communications Service Providers Need to Know – June 15, 2020

The Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rufunding_opportunity_v1r1ral Utilities Service (RUS) announced today the availability of $11.7 million under its Community Connect Grant Program (Community Connect), which provides grants for deploying broadband service to unserved, low-income and rural areas.  Grant awards range from $100,000 to $3 million for FY 2016.

Continue Reading $11.7 Million Available Under Department of Agriculture’s Community Connect Grant Program

funding_opportunity_v1r1On April 8, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) in the Federal Register for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (the Broadband Program) for Fiscal year 2016.  Loans are available ranging from $100,000 to $10 million.  Applications will be accepted from April 8, 2016 through July 7, 2016.

The Broadband Program provides loans to corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Cooperatives, State or local governments and Indian tribes or tribal organizations for the construction, improvement and acquisition of facilities and equipment.  The loan will not fund operating expenses, construction costs incurred prior to the issuance of a complete application status, the purchase of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and installation of installed writing (unless certain conditions are met) and leased facilities, among others.


Continue Reading Rural Utilities Services Announces Broadband Loan Program Funding; Applications due July 7, 2016