On March 4th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new Consumer Broadband Labels in hopes of improving transparency for fixed and mobile broadband consumers. The new “Broadband Facts” labels draw influence from nutrition labels, utilizing an easily recognizable format to better reach consumers. The labels will provide information about price and performance for consumers. Continue reading
The newly updated Lifeline Program will now help low income Americans access high-speed Internet. Voted on by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) March 31, the proposal will allow qualifying consumers to use the $9.25 monthly Lifeline subsidy for stand-alone broadband and bundled mobile voice and data plans. Continue reading
On March 30, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its long anticipated rate of return order that provides $20 billion in funding over the next 10 years. According to Chairman Wheeler, “Today’s order sets forth a package of reforms to address rate-of-return issues that are fundamentally intertwined—the need to modernize the program to provide support for stand-alone broadband service; the need to improve incentives for broadband investment to connect unserved rural Americans; and the need to strengthen the rate-of-return system to provide certainty and stability for years to come.” Continue reading
Today President Obama called upon all nonprofits, businesses, technology experts, and governments to connect 20 million more Americans to broadband by 2020. This goal, along with other supportive programs, was announced in a White House press release introducing the new ConnectALL initiative.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler recently took to the FCC blog to announce that a new order to reform universal support for rate-of-return carriers has been circulated at the agency. Mr. Wheeler announced progress has been made to support stand-alone broadband providers, improve incentives for providers to connect rural communities, and generally strengthen the rate-of-return system and rural broadband so that it can be reliable and stable for years to come.
Updated November 29, 2016
As the 114th Congress winds down, progress with proposed legislation has been extremely limited. Recently, however, the House passed an amended Communications Act Update (S. 253) that contains a few bills that had previously passed the House, including:
- H.R. 2583- The Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act
- H.R. 734- The Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act
- H.R. 4596- The Small Business Broadband Deployment Act
- H.R. 3998- The Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act
Below you can find a running list of proposed legislation we have seen from the 114th Congress. These bills and discussion drafts focus on auctioning spectrum, improving the deployment of conduit, streamlining the permitting process for use of federal lands, creating an inventory of federal assets and facilities related to broadband infrastructure, and making changes to the regulation of pole attachments. When the 115th Congress begins, expect to see proposals for similar legislation that could impact broadband stakeholders.
In a recent meeting of the Utah Broadband Advisory Council, members indicated that a statewide map data layer of communication tower sites would present numerous uses. These included fire defense planning during wildfires, broadband coordination, and radio service planning. While there are a number of maps of communication sites in Utah from various sources, each one that we examined fell short in terms of completeness.
On August 6, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission launched a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment (due by September 8, 2015) on whether consumer access to mobile broadband should be included in its annual review of the country’s broadband market. The annual review is created to assess whether Americans are receiving broadband on a “reasonable and timely basis.” Continue reading
On August 6, 2015, the Federal Communications (FCC) Commission adopted rules to “help ensure that consumers have the information and tools necessary to maintain landline home telephone service during emergencies.” The Report and Order issues new rules that require modern voice service providers to give their consumers more information about emergency power situations and to adequately cover consumer emergency power needs with adequate solutions. Continue reading
On August 6, 2015 the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Procedures Public Notice which establishes the bidding procedures for next year’s incentive auction. The auction will begin on March 29, 2016 and is designed to “allow market forces to make available high-quality low-band spectrum for mobile broadband.” Continue reading