Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.
On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. The Act allocates $65 Billion for various U.S. broadband deployment programs, including:
- $42.5 Billion for all states and territories, with an initial $100 Million for each state, including DC and Puerto Rico, to engage in planning broadband deployment to unserved areas.
- An additional $2 Billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, which triples the amount of Tribal grant funding to nearly $3 Billion. Approximately $5 Billion worth of grant applications have been pending since summer 2021.
- $1 Billion for the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program.
- $2.75 for the Billion Digital Inclusion Program.
The FCC Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on implementing the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to extend the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP). The Act requires the Commission to adopt final rules by January 14, 2022, for administering the ACP. Issues presented include the provider approval process, efforts to limit fraud and abuse, and criteria for identifying qualifying households. Comments are due December 8, 2021, and Reply Comments are due December 28, 2021. The FCC will deem the EBBP to have ceased, and the ACP to have commenced, on December 31, 2021. For more information about broadband funding, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
Two House Commerce Subcommittees will convene hearings on "Big Tech Accountability" in December 2021. The Communications Subcommittee hearing will be December 1, 2021, focusing on "holding Big Tech companies accountable by reforming Section 230." The Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing will be December 9, 2021, discussing several proposals to increase transparency and online safety. More details to come. For further information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
On December 6, 2021, FCC Commissioner Carr will host a virtual roundtable on the agency's telehealth initiatives. The event will include two panels to "discuss the opportunities and lessons" gleaned thus far about creating and operating telehealth services. The roundtable begins at 10:00am ET and will be live-streamed at www.fcc.gov/live. Registration is not required. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
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