Today’s Regulatory Mix: California Bill Takes Aim at Cable Providers, EBB Program Exceed 6 Million Households, FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Second Filing Window Opens


California Bill Takes Aim at Cable Providers 

A recent article penned by California Senator Anna Caballero (D., District 12) urgers Governor Gavin Newsom to sign her bill, SB 28, into law. The bill would expand the Public Utilities Commission’s authority over cable providers within the state, permitting the Commission to set and enforce customer service requirements. SB 28 requires cable and video franchise holders to report annually regarding the availability of and subscriptions to broadband and video service. “With more granular data that identifies where networks exist and helps to determine the quality of the service on the network, the CPUC can address complaints such as a lack of actual service delivery or receipt of poor quality service,’ Senator Caballero wrote. “Since just five franchisees deliver broadband services to more than 97% of Californians using the exact same digital networks that deliver pay video services, gathering granular data from these providers is important,” she said. “These companies know where their networks provide access, and where they don’t. This is imperative because today, even if they connect to just one location in a census tract, they deem the entire tract as served. SB 28 ends this obfuscated data manipulation by requiring granular network information—important transparency.” 


EBB Program Exceed 6 Million Households 

The FCC announced that more than 6 million low-income households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program since Mid-May.  Almost 1200 broadband providers have agreed to take part in the program, which provides discounts of $50, and up to $75 on Tribal lands, to qualifying households on their monthly internet bill.  Some providers also offer a one-time $100 discount on a computer, laptop, or connected device. “The response to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program confirms what many of us knew to be true: too many families remain offline because it’s too expensive for their monthly budget,” said Acting FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “The FCC is not stopping until we reach as many eligible families so they too can get the support they need.” 


FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Second Filing Window Opens  

The FCC announced the opening of the second application filing window for the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund, the program designed to connect remote students and library patrons. From September 28 to October 13, eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services received or delivered between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. The funding can be used to purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections to serve unmet needs for off-premises use by students, school staff, and library patrons. On September 24, the FCC announced the first funding wave in the program committing over $1.2 billion to connect over 3.6 million students. Additional funding commitments will be made on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. 


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.