Rebuild Better Act
The text for RH 5376 (“Build Back Better Act”) was released last week as part of Democrats’ $ 1.75 trillion spending plan, which includes funding for broadband and other telecommunications services. The law would allocate $ 480 million in grants to implement and maintain next-generation 9-1-1 services, establish an NG911 cybersecurity center, and create a 16-member advisory board. It would also allocate $ 295 million over ten years to NTIA for grants to public-private partnerships aimed at increasing broadband access in urban communities.
Biden appoints Rosenworcel as permanent president
Last week, President Joseph Biden appointed Interim President Jessica Rosenworcel as Permanent President of the FCC. President Rosenworcel’s term expired in 2020, so she must be confirmed in her new term by the Senate before the end of the year. President Biden also appointed Gigi Sohn, a distinguished fellow of the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, to fill the other Democratic post. If both presidents Rosenworcel and Sohn are confirmed, Democrats will hold a 3-2 majority.
The Senate adopts the 2021 law on secure equipment
The Senate unanimously adopted the 2021 Secure Equipment Act last week, which would bar the FCC from reviewing or issuing new equipment licenses to companies on the Commission’s list of equipment or services covered (Flight. XVIII, number 43). The FCC previously passed rules requiring telecommunications operators to remove and replace equipment produced by these entities due to national security concerns, but these only applied to equipment purchased with federal funding. The House passed a companion bill on October 20, which means it will now be sent to President Biden for proclamation.
$ 1.3 billion in emergency connectivity fund requests
The FCC announcement that it received requests for nearly $ 1.3 billion in the second filing window of the Connectivity Emergency Fund (the “Fund”) program, which ran from September 28 to October 13 (Flight. XVIII, number 42). The applications would finance nearly 2.4 million connected devices and more than 564,000 broadband connections. To date, the Commission has committed over $ 2.6 billion in funding for candidate schools and libraries.
Encina Communications 6 GHz Waiver
Encina Communications Corporation (“ECC”) filed an ex parte letter with the FCC last week proposing a waiver of Commission rules to allow access point (“AP”) networks to deploy outdoors using the PCN process. Under FCC rules, broadband service providers must use Automated Frequency Coordination (“AFC”) for outdoor AP networks. ECC requests waiver to allow providers to coordinate using AFC or prior coordination in accordance with 101.103 (d), and requests Commission to initiate rule-making procedure to formalize the process.
Co-authors include Timothy A. Doughty, Michael TN Fitch, C. Douglas Jarrett, Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, and Sean A. Stokes.