Vol. 17, No. 17
May 3, 2021
INCOMPAS Statement on President Biden’s Address,
Broadband Infrastructure Commitment
President Joseph Biden delivered his first address to Congress on April 28, highlighting his commitment to an infrastructure plan that includes funding for broadband, and stating that it would create jobs and connect the 35% of rural Americans who lack coverage. 

“Broadband competition is the key to connecting all Americans to the internet, lowering prices and increasing speeds that our small businesses desperately need to compete. It was encouraging to see President Biden reach out to Republicans tonight, seeking a bipartisan compromise on his infrastructure plan that will make America stronger and better prepared for the future," said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. 

“On broadband infrastructure Congress faces a choice: Go big and bold, or get stuck with old and slow. Other nations have set gigabit speed goals and are beating America on 5G deployment. Now is the time to invest in a better broadband future and demand that robust competition drive deployment and lower prices for all Americans living in urban, suburban and rural communities.” 
INCOMPAS E-Rate Webinar Available On Demand
Did you miss last week's INCOMPAS Thought Leadership webinar on Remote Learning: Expanding E-Rate for Families, Schools and Libraries, featuring member companies Amazon, Education Networks of America (ENA) and The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI)?

If so, you can watch it at your convenience on the INCOMPAS YouTube Channel.
INCOMPAS Offers Feedback on Call Blocking for FCC Report
INCOMPAS last week submitted comments to the FCC on the state of call blocking products and services offered by voice service providers. The association noted that while most voice providers are taking appropriate and responsible action to mitigate illegal robocalls, it has received reports that call blocking is being used on "a more regular basis to block or divert legitimate traffic."

INCOMPAS noted that it "has repeatedly raised concerns that call blocking could be used to erect barriers to competition and discriminate against competitive providers and their legitimate use cases. Specifically, our members report that some carriers or third-party robocall mitigation products are diverting traffic, including notification services, to dead air or fake voicemail. These originating voice service providers have subsequently seen a significant rise in customer complaints, with the volume of complaints increasing noticeably after the Commission adopted safe harbors for call blocking. In addition, there are growing concerns that call blocking, call diversion, and call rating could impair online security efforts given the potential for multifactor authentication calls to be blocked or diverted under the misperception that they are illegal robocalls, or erroneously characterized as 'spam likely' and thus not answered by the recipient.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to Launch on May 12
The FCC announced that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will launch on Wednesday, May 12. Providers participating in the EBB Program can begin enrolling eligible households into the program to receive EBB-supported service, and households on that date and will also be able to check their eligibility directly by using the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) consumer portal available at www.GetEmergencyBroadband.org

The Public Notice released with the announcement also describes additional reimbursement, enrollment and consumer notification procedures.
FCC Announces Agenda for May 20 Open Meeting
The FCC announced the tentative agenda for its May Open Meeting:
GOP Bill Aims to Improve Spectrum Coordination
Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Improving Spectrum Coordination Act that would direct the FCC and the NTIA to update a memorandum of understanding to ensure biannual meetings to discuss joint spectrum planning.
Communication Resiliency Bill Introduced
Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the Generating Resilient and Energy Efficient Network (GREEN) Communications Act, legislation that aims to protect communications networks against climate change and natural disasters by creating a program at the NTIA to fund resiliency projects. In addition, this legislation will instruct the FCC to establish a regulatory resiliency framework designed to minimize the number, length and impact of future communications network outages. 
Bill Seeks to Reform Section 230
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) introduced the 21st Century FREE Speech Act, which would reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to limit tech companies’ liability protections by prohibiting what the bill calls politically biased censorship. The bill also seeks to reform common carrier laws to include a new category of a “common carrier tech company” to include tech companies that have more 100 million monthly visitors. Such companies would be required to provide publicly available information on their content management and moderation policies.
House E&C to Hold Hearing May 6 on Disparities in Broadband
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) announced that the subcommittee will hold a fully remote hearing on Thursday, May 6, at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) on “Broadband Equity: Addressing Disparities in Access and Affordability.” Information for this hearing, including the Committee Memorandum, witnesses, testimony, and a live webcast will be posted here as they become available. 
Capito, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Close Homework Gap
U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), both members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, introduced the Every Child Connected Act, which aims to reduce the Homework Gap.