Strengthening the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice;
And promoting greater transparency and democratization of the antitrust agencies.
House Passes Updated HEROES Act
The House passed an updated version of the HEROES Act legislation on October 1. The revised bill, among other things, includes $12 billion to close the homework gap by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connected devices for students and library patrons, $3 billion for emergency home connectivity, $200 million for telemedicine grants and $24 million for broadband mapping. It also prohibits broadband and telephone providers from terminating service or imposing late fees due to a customer’s inability to pay their bill because of financial hardships caused by the pandemic.
FCC Releases October Open Meeting Agenda
The FCC released the agenda for its October 27 Open Meeting:
Restoring Internet Freedom Order Remand – An Order on Remand that would respond to the remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and conclude that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order promotes public safety, facilitates broadband infrastructure deployment, and allows the Commission to continue to provide Lifeline support for broadband Internet access service.
Establishing a 5G Fund for Rural America – A Report and Order that would establish the 5G Fund for Rural America to ensure that all Americans have access to the next generation of wireless connectivity.
Modernizing Unbundling and Resale Requirements – A Report and Order to modernize the Commission’s unbundling and resale regulations, eliminating requirements where they stifle broadband deployment and the transition to next- generation networks, but preserving them where they are still necessary to promote robust intermodal competition.
Legislation Introduced for 3.45-3.55 GHz Band Auction
House Republicans introduced this week legislation, HR 8545, or The Beat CHINA for 5G Act of 2020, which would empower the FCC to open more critical mid-band spectrum for non-federal, commercial wireless use by requiring the FCC to begin an auction of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band by December 2021. This bill was introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Latta (R-OH), and House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and is expected to be introduced in the Senate when it returns later this month by Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Senate Communications, Technology, Innovation, and Internet Subcommittee Chairman John Thune (R-SD).
In August 2020, the White House announced that it would make 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for non-federal, commercial wireless use. In September 2020, the FCC took a first step to start transitioning existing services to make this band available for 5G use.
FCC Adopts 8YY Access Charges Reform Order
The FCC last week adopted, on a 5-0 vote, a Report and Order on circulation on 8YY Access Charge Reform. According to FCC officials, the order "closely adheres" to a February proposal offered by USTelecom that would, among other things, transition intrastate and interstate end-office charges to bill-and-keep by 2023, set a nationwide uniform tandem switched transport access service rate of $0.001/minute, and transition database query rates to $0.0002 by 2023.