Broadband

On November 1, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) that will initiate an assessment into the availability and quality of broadband service nationwide.  The assessment, which is required by statute, will rely on information generated by the FCC’s new Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) to evaluate progress towards broadband universal service goals.  The NOI requests detailed public input on how the FCC should define and evaluate these goals based on the BDC data and other inputs.Continue Reading FCC Releases Notice of Inquiry into Broadband Speed Benchmark and Related Issues

Unless Congress reaches an agreement to keep the lights on, the U.S. government appears headed for a shutdown at midnight on October 1.  As the deadline looms, stakeholders should not let the legislative jockeying overshadow another consequence of a funding lapse: regulatory delay.  Under normal circumstances, federal agencies publish thousands of rules per year, covering agriculture, health care, transportation, financial services, and a host of other issues.  In a shutdown, however, most agency proceedings to develop and issue these regulations would grind to a halt, and a prolonged funding gap would lead to uncertainty for stakeholders, particularly as the 2024 elections approach.  Another consequence is that more regulations could become vulnerable to congressional disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).Continue Reading Looming Shutdown Elevates Congressional Review Act Threat for New Regulations

In remarks yesterday at the National Press Club, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that she will ask her fellow Commissioners to begin a rulemaking to re-assert the FCC’s authority over broadband and at the same time adopt new net neutrality rules.  With Democrats now holding a majority of the FCC’s five seats, it is widely expected that the agency will formally vote to begin the process of adopting these new rules at its next monthly meeting on October 19.  The Chairwoman’s announcement represents the latest phase in a longstanding public policy debate over the respective rights and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide mobile and fixed/residential broadband to the public.   Continue Reading FCC Chair Announces New Plans for Broadband Oversight and Net Neutrality

On August 25, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted an Order on Reconsideration (“Reconsideration Order”) that addressed three petitions requesting that the agency reconsider its broadband label requirements.  Among other things, the FCC affirmed its requirement that broadband Internet service providers (“ISPs”) display on the label all monthly fees with respect to the service.Continue Reading FCC Releases Reconsideration Order that Affirms and Clarifies Broadband Label Requirements

On May 25, 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that, on behalf of the U.S. government, it filed responses to the European Commission’s public consultation on The Future of the Electronic Communications Sector and Its Infrastructure.  The consultation explores the issue of how to best promote connectivity and ensure reliable broadband access throughout the EU, as well as the kinds of infrastructure and investments needed to support the evolving telecommunications landscape.  Among other things, the consultation seeks feedback on whether content and application providers (also referred to as Over-The-Top (OTT) services in the U.S.) should make mandated “fair share” payments to telecom operators to subsidize current and future connectivity needs.  NTIA’s filing comes amid an ongoing debate surrounding the future of the U.S. Universal Service Fund (USF) and whether and how to expand its contribution base.Continue Reading Biden Administration Weighs in on European Commission’s “Fair Share” Telecoms Consultation

Yesterday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a Request for Comment that seeks input on a “National Spectrum Strategy,” which would include a plan to study federal spectrum usage to identify spectrum that could be reallocated or repurposed to commercial or shared federal/commercial use. This National Spectrum Strategy also would include a process for identifying the spectrum bands best suited for repurposing (a “Spectrum Pipeline”).  NTIA seeks input in creating a Spectrum Pipeline for the next decade, with the goal of identifying at least 1,500 megahertz of spectrum to study for potential repurposing to meet the future requirements of both commercial and federal users.  Continue Reading NTIA Seeks Public Comment on the Development of a National Spectrum Strategy and Spectrum-Sharing “Pipeline”

Last Friday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) took a major step in furtherance of the Biden Administration’s goal of connecting all Americans to broadband by releasing its widely anticipated Notice of Funding Opportunity (“NOFO”) for the landmark $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) Program, along with NOFOs for two smaller programs. 

On January 27, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would require internet service providers (“ISPs”) to display labels disclosing certain service information, including prices, introductory rates, data allowances, broadband speeds, and network management practices.  Notably, the NPRM proposes to adopt—with some modifications—the labels developed by an advisory committee and published by the Commission in a 2016 Public Notice.
Continue Reading FCC Proposes to Require Broadband “Nutrition Labels”; Comments Due March 9

On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) became law, authorizing $65 billion in federal broadband investments with the goal of connecting all Americans to reliable, high speed, and affordable broadband.  The IIJA directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) to oversee the distribution of $48.2 billion in infrastructure grants to