Vol. 17, No. 5
February 1, 2021
INCOMPAS Joins Letters Supporting Workforce Training
INCOMPAS joined nine other telecommunications industry trade associations in letters to the White House, the House and Senate last week calling for support for broadband-related job skills development in any future infrastructure legislation. The groups specifically recommended for the administration and Congress to work with the Labor Department and industry-led programs at technical schools to provide a future workforce for wireline and wireless jobs.
FCC Issues Tentative Agenda for February 17 Open Meeting
The FCC announced the tentative agenda for its February 17 Open Meeting
  • Emergency Broadband Benefit Program – The FCC will hear a presentation on the creation of an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Congress charged the FCC with developing a new $3.2 billion program to help Americans who are struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.
  • COVID-19 Telehealth Program – The FCC will hear a presentation about the next steps for the agency’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Congress recently provided an additional $249.95 million to support the FCC’s efforts to expand connected care throughout the country and help more patients receive healthcare safely.
  • Improving Broadband Mapping Data – The FCC will hear a presentation on the work the agency is doing to improve its broadband maps. Congress directly appropriated $65 million to help the agency develop better data for improved maps.
  • Addressing 911 Fee Diversion – The FCC will consider an NPRM that would implement section 902 of the Don't Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020, which requires the Commission to take action to help address the diversion of 911 fees by states and other jurisdictions for purposes unrelated to 911.
  • Implementing the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act – The FCC will consider a Third FNPRM that proposes to modify FCC rules consistent with changes that were made to the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
Sen. Grassley Joins Group to Bring More Oversight to RDOF
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined his colleagues in sending a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the FCC regarding the implementation of Phase 1 of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, which will award more than $9.2 billion to reach more than 5.2 million unserved locations across rural America. The members urged the FCC to thoroughly vet the winning bidders to ensure that they are capable of deploying and delivering the services they committed to providing and the funding will be used wisely and effectively.
Senators Urge More Telehealth Funding for Rural Providers
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), M. Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-Maine) and Jeanne Sheehan (D-N.H.) sent a letter to acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on January 25 regarding the FCC’s request for comment on how to administer the next round of the COVID-19 Telehealth program. They asserted in the first round of the program, the majority of funding was awarded to large providers and asked the FCC to target funds in the next round to small providers in rural areas.