Subcommittee on Communication and Technology serious about closing digital divide

Chair of the subcommittee on Communication and Technology underscores the importance of closing the digital divide.

 American Flag, Flag

In light of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s plans to distribute the 42 billion USD Bead Program to states across the US, the Subcommittee on Communication and Technology emphasised the need for equitable distribution. Chair of the subcommittee, in his inaugural speech at the Committee hearing, ‘Oversight of the Federal Communication Commission’, informed of the need to validate the reliability of the updated National Broadband Map, released last month by the Federal Communication Commission. According to the map, there are still 8.3 million homes and businesses without high-speed internet access.

Congress commissions the FCC to regulate interstate and international communications. Its functions include administering the Universal Service Fund (USF), holding spectrum auctions and regulating broadband licensees, and managing the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) and the COVID-19 Telehealth program. During his speech, the chair shared his concerns for the future of the USF, ACP and ECF programs with questions about potential contributors, program duplication and corruption.

The Chair also lodged concerns about small providers receiving financial reimbursement under the Supply Chain Reimbursement Program, given the expiration of the FCC’s spectrum auction authority on 8 March. He reminded the group of the unanimous decision for renewal taken under the Spectrum Auction Reauthorization Act.