Today’s Regulatory Mix: $40 Billion BRIDGE Act Introduced, Commissioner Carr Praises Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen America’s National Security, FCC to Open Portal for Institutions to Alert the Enforcement Bureau About Robocall and Spoofing Campaigns, Landline Phone Use to See a 2.25 Percent Savings on Monthly Bills in Georgia
$40 Billion BRIDGE Act Introduced
Senators Michael Bennet (D., Colo.), Angus King (I., Maine), and Rob Portman (R., Ohio) announced the introduction of the Broadband Reform and Investment to Drive Growth in the Economy (BRIDGE) Act. The act would create a $40 billion broadband deployment fund from which the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) would make noncompetitive grants to states, tribal governments, and U.S. territories under an allocation formula that prioritizes rural and low-income populations. The grants encourage networks that are affordable but will meet the long-term needs of communities. The proposed act would preempt state and local restrictions on municipal broadband, allowing more entities to compete for funding.
Commissioner Carr Praises Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen America’s National Security
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr praised the introduction of the bipartisan Secure Equipment Act of 2021 by House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Representative Anna Eshoo. Their legislation, which is similar to a bill introduced last month by Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ed Markey, would close a loophole that allows equipment from Huawei, ZTE, and other entities that pose an unacceptable threat to national security to continue to be inserted into the country’s communications networks. Three months ago, Carr highlighted the loophole that Huawei and others have been using during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“I commend Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo for their leadership in securing America’s communications infrastructure,” Carr stated. “Their bipartisan Secure Equipment Act would close a glaring loophole that Huawei and other entities are exploiting today to place their insecure gear into our networks.”
FCC to Open Portal for Institutions to Alert the Enforcement Bureau About Robocall and Spoofing Campaigns
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the adoption of rules establishing a formal system for private entities like hospitals or other institutions to provide information about suspected robocall or spoofing campaigns directly to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. The new online portal will allow such entities to alert agency investigators of concerning incidents, including floods of robocalls like those that have been known to overload hospital phone lines.
In the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act), Congress directed the FCC to create a process that streamlines the ways in which a private entity may voluntarily share with the Commission information relating to a call or text message that violates prohibitions regarding robocalls or spoofed caller ID information. This process will be separate from and will not impact the FCC’s current consumer complaint process.
Landline Phone Use to See a 2.25 Percent Savings on Monthly Bills in Georgia
The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) announced earlier this month that the PSC has voted to reduce a landline phone fee as a 10-year program sunsets.
In 2011, the PSC began implementing a new state law that required telecommunications carriers to reduce the rates they charge each other to complete long distance calls. The practical effect of the law was to bring the costs for in-state long distance calls in line with the costs for out-of-state long distance calls. Prior to implementation by the PSC, it would often cost significantly more to place an in-state long distance call than to call across the country using a landline.
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.