Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement announcing his support of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger with modest conditions. The proposed merger is still pending approval by the full FCC as well as the Department of Justice, state Attorneys General, and the California Public Utilities Commission. Public Knowledge opposes the transaction as a member of the 4Competition Coalition, filed a Petition to Deny with the FCC, and testified against the deal on Capitol Hill.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission published a draft Order in the “Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls” proceeding. As currently written, the FCC’s draft Order could culminate in carriers charging consumers for call-blocking services that may or may not work as intended, whether consumers want the service or not.
The Federal Communications Commission is required by law (under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996) to initiate a notice of inquiry and report annually on whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. This annual broadband report is incredibly important because the findings and conclusions are designed to help Congress and the FCC develop policies that ensure all Americans have robust broadband access. Reports with inaccurate data on broadband availability can skew the findings and prevent unserved and underserved areas from gaining access to broadband. The public has not yet seen the draft 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, but the FCC published a news release about the key findings.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced the “Facilitate America's Superiority in 5G Technology (5G FAST) Plan” to ensure the United States wins the race to 5G wireless connectivity. The plan includes the nation’s largest spectrum auction in December 2019 and the promised future creation of a $20.4 billion rural broadband investment fund, “The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund,” to help close the digital divide.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Report and Order that would eliminate the high-cost program’s rate floor rule. This rule prevented payments to carriers whose rates were below a certain threshold -- and likely would have resulted in many carriers simply raising the rates they charge rural customers to avoid losing support payments. Public Knowledge commends the FCC for removing this rule.