Vol. 17, No. 4
January 25, 2021
FCC Releases 14th Broadband Deployment Report
The FCC, under Chairman Pai's leadership, last week released its 14th Broadband Deployment Report, finding for a third consecutive year that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis and the digital divide continues to narrow.

The report noted that since the last broadband deployment report, the number of Americans in areas without access to at least 25/3 Mbps has dropped from 18.1 million at the end of 2018 to fewer than 14.5 million at the end of 2019, a decrease of more than 20%. Also, more than three-quarters of those in newly served areas, nearly 3.7 million, are located in rural areas, bringing the number of rural Americans in areas served by at least 25/3 Mbps to nearly 83%.
Executive Order Seeks to Expand Broadband for Students
More federal help is coming for schools attempting to reopen campuses or teach students remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Biden signed an executive order on January 21 directing federal agencies to get schools resources for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and vaccinations for teachers.

The executive order also encourages the FCC to use funding for broadband connections to support remote learning in students’ homes. That step was opposed over the past year by former Chairman Pai, who argued the FCC was restricted by law from using existing funds for internet connectivity outside of school buildings. One estimate last fall found 17 million school-age children lack adequate internet access to attend classes at home. Almost $7 billion is needed to close the “digital divide,” advocates said.
Rep. Latta Named Ranking Republican on Communications Panel
The ranking Republican on the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee will again be Rep. Bob Latta (Ohio). The ranking Republican on the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee will be Rep. Gus Bilirakis (Fla.).

Republican members of the Communications Subcommittee for the 117th Congress include Reps. Steve Scalise (La.), Brett Guthrie (Ky.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Bilirakis, Bill Johnson (Ohio), Billy Long (Mo.), Richard Hudson (N.C.), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Tim Walberg (Mich.) and Earl (Buddy) Carter.