American Jobs Plan Proposes $100 Billion for Broadband
On March 31, President Biden announced the American Jobs Plan, which proposes to invest in jobs and infrastructure, including $100 billion for broadband.
The plan calls for:
Building high-speed broadband infrastructure to reach 100% coverage
Prioritizing building future proof broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas
Reducing the cost of broadband internet service
Promoting more widespread adoption
It will also prioritize support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits and co-operatives, and promote transparency and competition.
INCOMPAS Files Comments on Emergency Connectivity Fund
INCOMPAS filed comments today at the FCC on the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) for educational connections and devices. In its comments, INCOMPAS advocated for a neutral set of rules that foster a pro-competition approach to the ECF. This would speed implementation and help teachers, students and parents address the Homework Gap and promote remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
INCOMPAS stressed key factors for success, including:
Streamline and simplify the application process for eligible schools and libraries for funding for eligible equipment and services;
Encourage a competitively neutral approach so that eligible schools and libraries can access the devices and services that best meet their students’ and patrons’ needs;
Allow for the reimbursement of service and equipment provided as of January 27, 2020.
Looking to the future, the FCC should interpret “advanced telecommunications and information services” to include any services that support advanced internet connectivity, including cloud computing services.
“The Emergency Connectivity Fund has the potential to unlock the future of education, and address the Homework Gap that has hurt millions of American families," said Lindsay Stern, INCOMPAS attorney and policy advisor. "We are encouraging the FCC to look to the future with a set of technology neutral rules for the ECF that promote competition and streamlining for a faster more robust roll out that provides teachers, students, library patrons, and families with a wide range of options to address the Homework Gap and remote learning challenges.”
Ligado Connects: Women in Tech
Despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, women are still vastly underrepresented in the technology industry, comprising only 27% of STEM workers.
INCOMPAS Chief Advocate and General Counsel Angie Kronenberg,
Ligado Networks Executive Vice President Valerie Green
Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
The panelists discussed their experiences as women in tech, the challenges and opportunities facing women in the industry today, and more.
Member Profile: Zayo
Founded in 2007, Zayo has grown through both organic investment and 45 acquisitions to become the leading independent provider of communications infrastructure. With deep, dense metro and long-haul networks across the U.S., Canada and Western Europe, Zayo serves many of the largest and most innovative companies in the world.
Visit the INCOMPAS website to learn more about Zayo.
The FCC issued a tentative agenda for its April 22, 2021 Open Meeting:
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.
Sen. Gillibrand Announces Bill to Invest $6 Billion in Broadband
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced legislation to invest $6 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program to help close the homework gap and ensure families across New York can access essential online services.
The Emergency Broadband Connections Act would bolster funding for the program, which provides $50 per month to workers who have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic and $75 per month on Tribal lands, along with a range of other assistance. The legislation also facilitates the approval of benefits by providing funding to help states participate in the National Lifeline Eligibility verifier and requiring the FCC to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set up automated connections between the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier and the National Accuracy Clearinghouse for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Sens. Graham, Scott Introduce State Fix Act
South Carolina’s Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott introduced the State Fix Act, which would provide $20 billion in funding to expand broadband infrastructure to rural areas. The bill comes after the reintroduction of the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that would allocate $94 billion to broadband build out.
The State Fix Act will:
Provide $20 billion for broadband infrastructure utilizing fiber optic cables, wireless and 5G technologies
Use a reverse auction method to provide top-quality broadband service at the lowest price for the American taxpayer
Base a state’s funding on their unserved (no internet access at all) and a percentage of their underserved (low-quality service) populations to distribute funds to the areas of greatest need like rural America and Opportunity Zones
Senators Introduce Bill to Close Rural-Urban Digital Divide
Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) reintroduced the bipartisan Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act to help close the rural-urban digital divide and expand access to broadband in rural parts of West Virginia, New Hampshire and across the country.
The bipartisan bill would help ensure that there is equitable wireless service in rural and urban areas. It would direct the FCC to establish a national standard for determining whether mobile and broadband services in rural areas are ‘reasonably comparable’ to service provided in urban areas. Carriers would have to meet this new national standard in order to receive federal funding.