Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC Announces Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar, Florida Sets Relay System Annual Budget, NTIA Releases Updated Comprehensive Guide to Federal Broadband Funding
FCC Announces Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar
The FCC (Commission) announced that on Friday, June 25 starting at 2:00 p.m. EDT, the Commission will host a virtual webinar to provide information on the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), on fcc.gov/live. Registration is not required for the event.
The webinar will provide schools and libraries with an overview of the ECF, including applicant eligibility, supported equipment and services, reasonable support amounts, and the application and invoicing processes. Participants will also have an opportunity to submit questions about how the program works and the program requirements. The webinar will be recorded and available on the FCC’s website following the event.
Florida Sets Relay System Annual Budget
Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the annual budget for Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI), keeping the monthly surcharge—applied to landline customer bills—at its current 10 cents for the fifth consecutive year. FTRI is a non-profit that administers the Florida Relay System (FRS), providing basic telecommunications access to Florida citizens who are hard of hearing, deaf, or have difficulty speaking.
FTRI’s approved Fiscal Year 2021/2022 budget, effective August 1, totals $4.45 million. This represents a 10 percent revenue decrease and a 12.25 percent expense decrease from this year, due to a projected decline in access lines that use the surcharge and a decline in the number of minutes used. As the communications industry offerings expand, traditional relay users are transitioning to Internet, video, and wireless options.
“Even with a decline in users, FRS provides a vital resource for Florida’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community, keeping them connected to family, friends, and businesses,” said PSC Chairman Gary Clark. “This year was particularly hard for FTRI due to the effects of COVID-19. It’s important that FTRI’s funding can continue to seamlessly provide this service to those who depend upon it.”
NTIA Releases Updated Comprehensive Guide to Federal Broadband Funding
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released an updated database with information on more than 80 federal programs across 14 federal agencies whose funding can be used for broadband-related purposes. Working to expand and improve broadband access across the country, funding opportunities include direct grants, loans, indirect support, and discounts for industry, state and local governments, schools, libraries, small businesses, and other community institutions. Programs can be searched by agency, program purpose, and eligible recipients. NTIA will update the site as additional funding opportunities become available.
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.