Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC Adopts Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for March Open Meeting, USTelecom Broadband Providers Send Letter to White Regarding Supply Chain for Semiconductor Chips
FCC Adopts Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
On February 25, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously adopted the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (Program). The Program is a $3.2 billion federal initiative to provide qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills with the ability to receive a discount on a computer or tablet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating providers will receive reimbursement from the Program for the discounts provided.
In a statement released by the FCC, Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said “Today the Federal Communications Commission made history. It adopted rules for the nation’s largest-ever program to help households nationwide afford broadband service.”
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for March Open Meeting
Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the March Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, 2021:
- Promoting Public Safety Through Information Sharing – The Commission will consider a Second Report and Order that would provide state and federal agencies with direct, read-only access to communications outage data for public safety purposes while also preserving the confidentiality of that data. (PS Docket No. 15-80)
- Improving the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts – The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry to implement section 9201 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which is intended to improve the way the public receives emergency alerts on their mobile phones, televisions, and radios. (PS Docket Nos. 15-94, 15-91)
- Facilitating Shared Use in the 3.45 GHz Band – The Commission will consider a Second Report and Order that would establish rules to create a new 3.45 GHz Service operating between 3.45-3.55 GHz, making 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum available or flexible use throughout the contiguous United States. (WT Docket No. 19-348)
- Auction of Flexible-Use Service Licenses in the 3.45-3.55 GHz Band – The Commission will consider a Public Notice that would establish application and bidding procedures for Auction 110, the auction of flexible use licenses in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band. (AU Docket No. 21-62)
- Promoting the Deployment of 5G Open Radio Access Networks – The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on the current status of Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) and virtualized network environments, including potential obstacles to their development and deployment, and whether and how deployment of Open RAN-compliant networks could further the Commission’s policy goals and statutory obligations. (GN Docket No. 21-63)
In addition to the above items, the FCC will also consider two National Security Matters and an Enforcement Action.
The FCC publicly releases the draft text of each item expected to be considered at the next Open Commission Meeting. Drafts of items under consideration that involve specific national security or enforcement-related matters will not be publicly released. One-page cover sheets are included in the public drafts to help summarize each item. All these materials will be available on the FCC’s Open Meeting page: www.fcc.gov/openmeeting.
USTelecom, Broadband Providers Send Letter to White Regarding Supply Chain for Semiconductor Chips
USTelecom, ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association, CTIA and NCTA – The Internet & Television Association sent a letter to the White House about the global semiconductor chip shortage, writing to President Biden:
“Broadband providers are already experiencing the effects of the global semiconductor chip shortage. As the White House considers executive action on this and other important supply chain issues, we urge you to include broadband providers in measures to address the chip shortage, support initiatives that will expand domestic innovation and investment in semiconductor development and manufacturing facilities for all industries and ensure coordination across government and with industry partners on supply chain matters.”
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.