Vol. 18, No. 32
August 1, 2022
Legislation Introduced to Reinstate Net Neutrality
Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.); and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act, legislation that would accurately classify broadband internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, giving the FCC the appropriate authority to reinstate net neutrality protections. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the present need to promote an accessible and just broadband future, with students having spent upwards of two years studying online, entrepreneurs creating new businesses through remote work and patients receiving the care they need through telemedicine services. In the wake of Congress’ historic investment in broadband deployment, the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act would give the FCC the authority it needs to prohibit discriminatory practice like blocking, throttling and paid prioritization online. It would also provide the FCC with ability to enact effective broadband policies that enhance public safety, increase accessibility, close the digital divide and protect consumers.
USDA Announces $401 Million for Rural High-Speed Internet
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the agency is investing $401 million to provide access to high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses in 11 states, part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and affordable high-speed internet for all. This announcement includes a group of investments from the ReConnect Program and an award funded through USDA’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program.
The USDA will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet later this summer, including ReConnect Program funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.
The USDA is supporting high-speed internet investments in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas through this announcement. Several awards will help rural people and businesses on Tribal lands and those in socially vulnerable communities
NTIA Announces $10+ Million in Grants to Expand High-Speed Internet to Minority-Serving Colleges and Universities
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced it has awarded the first five grants as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC). These grants, totaling $10,642,577.03, will be used to fund internet access, equipment, and to hire and train information technology personnel. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves announced the grants at an event in New York with Mercy College, one of the first grant recipients.
The awardees include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the U.S. More information about the awardees and grants is provided in the table below and on InternetForAll.Gov.
The CMC program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative that will connect everyone in America with affordable, reliable high-speed internet. This program specifically directs $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed internet access and connectivity to eligible colleges and universities.