Vol. 17, No. 44
November 15, 2021
NTIA to Host Technical Assistance Session on
Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host Technical Assistance (TA) sessions in connection with the Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program authorized and funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. NTIA’s CMC Pilot Program is a $268 million grant program to build the broadband and digital technology capacities of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and to support broadband access, adoption, and digital skills within those institutions and in their surrounding anchor communities.

The CMC TA Sessions are designed to help prospective applicants understand the eligibility and programmatic requirements of the CMC Pilot Program and to assist applicants prepare high quality grant applications before the application deadline on December 1, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. EST. The CMC program team will address live questions during these technical assistance sessions to aid prospective CMC Pilot Program applicants.

NTIA will offer 60-minute CMC TA Sessions on the following dates (click the links to register):
President Biden Signs Secure Equipment Act of 2021
President Biden last week signed into law H.R. 3919, the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, which requires the FCC to secure telecommunications systems against potential foreign threats to national security.

Under the new law, the FCC is barred from considering authorization for products made by companies on its "covered list," which includes Huawei and ZTE.

The designation blocks U.S. companies from using FCC funds to purchase communications equipment and services that the U.S. government considers a national security threat.
The bill received near-unanimous support in Congress. It was sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), along with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).
Senate Bill Seeks to Limit Big Tech Mergers
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced bipartisan legislation, The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, to make it more difficult for dominant online platforms to make acquisitions that harm competition and eliminate consumer choice.

The proposal would give the Federal Trade Commission ability to stop acquisitions by dominant platforms that are direct or potential competitors or expand a platform’s market position. It could impact large tech companies like Amazon and Facebook. A similar bill advanced in the House Judiciary Committee this summer.
Senate Provisions Aim Funding to Strengthen Cybersecurity
The House-passed infrastructure package (H.R. 3684) includes $21 million in funding for the Office of the National Cyber Director, $1 billion to support state and local cyber investments, and $20 million for a new cyber respond and recover fund. The bill would provide funding for the first time to the office run by Chris Inglis, the country’s first national cyber director, who was sworn into his role in July, but has been funded via a White House budget to date. The office resides within the executive office of the president and was created in last year’s national defense act that authorized the office to hire up to 75 full time employees.

“I applaud the House for passing our bipartisan priority of $21 million in important funding for the new Office of the National Cyber Director as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package and I urge the president to sign it into law quickly,” said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ranking member Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in a statement. “As we face increasing cyber threats, it is crucial that the National Cyber Director has the funding needed in order to able to effectively and efficiently develop national cyber policies that best protect federal networks, data, and critical infrastructure.” Press Release