American Rescue Plan Grants: Competition Builds a Better Broadband Future
Last week INCOMPAS released its recommendations to states on using the American Rescue Plan funds for broadband infrastructure, which included the need to consider immediate and long-term requirements:
New Networks. As business and schooling have moved to homes during the pandemic, and as more residents are vaccinated and go back to work and school, it is important that robust broadband capability is deployed to government agencies, residences, businesses and town centers. To deliver a scalable, robust and reliable network, investment in backbone, middle mile and/or last mile networks may be needed.
Speed Matters. New network builders are delivering 1 gigabit and above speeds today, and they are building reliable infrastructure that will be able to scale as demand increases. Federal policymakers at the FCC and on the Hill are prioritizing funding for 1 gigabit-capable technology.
Fiber Backbone. Fiber is a critical component in delivering reliable broadband infrastructure and 1 gigabit speeds. Everyone needs access to fiber, including fixed broadband, cable, cellular (mobile) and satellite companies. Building fiber helps all, and fiber densification throughout the U.S. is needed for 5G. Fiber also operates more efficiently and is more scalable, allowing providers to handle broadband growth and demand over the long-term.
Remote Learning and E-Rate:
April Thought Leadership Webinar
Traditional applications of E-Rate funding are now expanding to address the ongoing and potentially increasing needs stemming from the pandemic. Emergency funds - such as the $7.1 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund and $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program - are being made available to help families with internet access, and support schools and libraries as they assist with remote learning.
INCOMPAS kicked off its monthly Member Spotlight last week with Cloud Communications Alliance (CCA), a global, not-for-profit peer organization dedicated to fostering the growth and value of hosted cloud communications and collaboration services. CCA provides its members and the industry with vital information about the cloud industry, helps amplify its members’ messages through marketing programs and represents its members before governmental bodies in the U.S. and Europe.
Hear from CCA Chairman Clark Peterson about why cloud companies worldwide are joining the CCA and how the organization is is collaborating with INCOMPAS to advance critical regulatory issues in the U.S.
FCC Announces April 22 Open Meeting Agenda
The FCC finalized the agenda for its April 22 open meeting, where it will consider:
Text-to-988 – An FNPRM to increase the effectiveness of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by proposing to require covered text providers to support text messaging to 988.
Commercial Space Launch Operations – A Report and Order and FNPRM that would adopt a new spectrum allocation for commercial space launch operations and seek comment on additional allocations and service rules.
Wireless Microphones – An NPRM that proposes to revise the technical rules for Part 74 low-power auxiliary station (LPAS) devices to permit a recently developed, and more efficient, type of wireless microphone system.
Improving 911 Reliability – A Third NPRM to promote public safety by ensuring that 911 call centers and consumers receive timely and useful notifications of disruptions to 911 service.
Enforcement Bureau Directs Providers to Cease Robocall Traffic: The Enforcement Bureau sent letters to R Squared Telecom and Tellza on April 13, asserting they are transmitting illegal robocall traffic on behalf of one or more of their clients. The bureau directed each provider to investigate and, if necessary, cease transmitting such traffic immediately and take steps to prevent their networks from continuing to be a source of apparent illegal robocalls.
Comments for Second Staff Report on Call Blocking Due April 30: The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking input for its second staff report on call blocking. The bureau seeks information on the availability and effectiveness of call blocking tools; impact of FCC actions; impact on 911 services and public safety; and any other relevant information. Comments are due April 30. The FCC also sent letters to major phone companies and third-party developers of call blocking tools seeking updated information about their efforts to enable customers to block unwanted calls.
New Webpage: The commission has launched a webpage to track the FCC’s actions to implement the TRACED Act.
EBB Benefit Webinar on April 27 for Consumers, Outreach Partners
Tomorrow - April 27 starting at 3 p.m. EDT - the FCC will host a public webinar to provide information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). The webinar will provide consumers and outreach partners with an overview of the EBB program, eligibility information, and enrollment procedures. During the event, the FCC will provide an overview of the outreach tool kit materials that have been developed for partners and the public to use to create awareness about the temporary program.
Sens. Daines, Kelly Introduce Broadband Infrastructure Bill
Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) introduced a bill on April 14 to increase access to existing infrastructure that will allow easier and faster installation of broadband services. They said the bill would:
Make it easier for broadband companies to receive federal right-of-way licenses allowing them to install broadband alongside existing infrastructure like federal highways
Ensure costs of federal right-of-way licenses are fair market prices
Increase transparency into the federal right-of-way license awarding process
Amicus Briefs Filed in California Net Neutrality Law Appeal