Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Authorizes Additional CAF II Support, NARUC 5G Resolutions, US Congress Data Privacy Bill
FCC Authorizes Additional CAF II Support
The FCC announced it has authorized more than $240 million in funding over ten years to expand rural broadband deployment in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. These investments will connect more than 100,000 unserved rural homes and businesses in these states. Broadband providers will begin receiving funding later this month. This represents the ninth wave of support from the 2018 Connect America Fund Phase II auction; the funding being authorized in New York is the third wave of matching funds provided through the FCC’s partnership with the state’s New NY Broadband Program. This action brings total authorized funding to over $1.4 billion, which is expanding connectivity to 627,097 homes and businesses nationwide. Funding rounds will continue until the authorization process is complete.
The following is a slit of the companies receiving support under the latest authorization, the number of homes and businesses served (locations), the amount of support over 10 years, and the minimum download/upload speeds to be provided:
NARUC 5G Resolution
At its Winter Policy Summit the National Association of regulatory Utility Commissioners adopted one telecommunications resolution, on the FG Fund. The resolution notes that: (1) the FCC ended the Mobility Fund Phase II without providing any dollars for improving mobile wireless coverage based on FCC staff’s determination that the coverage maps provided were not sufficiently reliable or accurate; (2) FCC Chairman Pia announced that the Mobility Fund Phase II would be replaced with a 5G Fund to provide $9 billion in universal service fund assistance in building 5G infrastructure in rural America with $1 billion of that targeted at improving access for precision agriculture but that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking indicating what areas would be targeted has not yet been released; and (3) there is concern that without current and accurate mapping these dollars may end up exacerbating the digital divide rather than solving the mobile wireless access problems that currently exist in rural America. Accordingly, the resolution calls for the FCC to require current and accurate mobile wireless data coverage mapping prior to awarding any dollars from the 5G Fund and that 5G Fund dollars be prioritized for areas that do not have mobile wireless data coverage meeting a 5/1 Mbps threshold.
US Congress Data Privacy Bill
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S3300, the Data Protection Act, which would create the Data Protection Agency (DPA), an independent federal agency to protect Americans’ data, safeguard their privacy, and ensure data practices are fair and transparent. The DPA will have the authority and resources to effectively enforce data protection rules—created either by itself or congress—and would be equipped with a broad range of enforcement tools, including civil penalties, injunctive relief, and equitable remedies. The DPA would promote data protection and privacy innovation across public and private sectors, developing and providing resources such as Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) that minimize or even eliminate the collection of personal data. T
The DPA would be an executive agency. The director would be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate and serve a 5-year term. The Director would need to have knowledge in technology, protection of personal data, civil rights, law, and business. The agency would be able to investigate, subpoena for testimony or documents, and issue civil investigative demands. It may prescribe rules and issue orders and guidance as is necessary to carry out federal privacy laws. The authority of state agencies and state attorneys general are preserved in the Act.
The DPA would have three core missions:
1. Give Americans control and protection over their own data by creating and enforcing data protection rules.
- The agency would enforce privacy statutes and rules around data protection, either as authorized by Congress or themselves. It would use a broad range of tools to do so, including civil penalties, injunctive relief, and equitable remedies.
- The agency would also take complaints, conduct investigations, and inform the public on data protection matters.
2. Maintain the most innovative, successful tech sector in the world by ensuring fair competition within the digital marketplace.
- The agency would promote data protection and privacy innovation across sectors, developing and providing resources such as Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) that minimize or even eliminate the collection of personal data.
- The agency would ensure equal access to privacy protection and protect against “pay-for-privacy” or “take-it-or-leave-it” provisions in service contracts—because privacy, including online privacy, is a right that should be enforced.
3. Prepare the American government for the digital age.
- The agency would advise Congress on emerging privacy and technology issues, like deep fakes and encryption. It would also represent the United States at international forums regarding data privacy and inform future treaty agreements regarding data.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.