Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Connected Care Pilot Program Guidance, the FCC's Rosenworcel Releases New Podcast, USDA Announces Broadband Funding for Rural Tennessee and North Carolina
FCC Connected Care Pilot Program Guidance
The FCC issued a Public Notice providing additional information and guidance for potential applicants interested in applying for its Connected Care Pilot Program. The Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to support the provision of connected care services, with an emphasis on supporting these services for low income Americans and veterans. The FCC will release a subsequent Public Notice with details regarding application procedures, including the timing of the application window.
The Pilot Program is open to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that fall within the statutorily detailed categories of “health care provider” in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, whether located in rural or non-rural areas. The Program the will use USF funding to help defray costs of connected care services for eligible health care providers, providing universal service support for 85% of the cost of eligible services and network equipment, which include: (1) patient broadband Internet access services; (2) health care provider broadband data connections; (3) other connected care information services; and (4) certain network equipment. The Pilot Program will not provide funding for devices.
To prepare for submitting a Pilot Program application, nonprofit and public eligible health care providers interested in participating in the Pilot Program can take steps now to obtain an eligibility determination by filing an FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form) with USAC and obtaining a Health Care Provider (HCP) number.
FCC’s Rosenworcel Releases New Podcast
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel announced the release of a new episode of her podcast, Broadband Conversations. Her podcast is dedicated to amplifying the voices of women from across the technology, innovation, and media sectors. The most recent features Congresswoman Suzan DelBene. Congresswoman DelBene represents Washington’s 1st Congressional District and has over 20 years of experience as a technology entrepreneur and business leader
Rosenworcel said: “With a career in technology and business that spans over two decades, Congresswoman DelBene brought a unique experience to the House of Representatives when she was first elected in 2012. Since then she’s used her skills from the private sector to help develop policies that create jobs and foster innovation. She’s also used this background to advance cybersecurity and improve data privacy. With the nation online for work, school, healthcare and more, our safety over these connections matter like never before. It was a treat to speak to the Congresswoman and get her take on the next generation of connectivity, network security, and so much more.”
USDA Announces Broadband Funding for Rural Tennessee and North Carolina
The USDA announced new rural broadband investments in Tennessee and North Carolina. First, it announced it is investing nearly $10 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Tennessee. In rural Tennessee, Ardmore Telephone Company will use a $4.9 million grant and a $4.9 million loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to connect 4,005 people, 263 farms, 28 businesses, four educational facilities and one fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Benton, Giles and Lincoln counties.
It also announced s investing more than $2 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in North Carolina. In rural North Carolina, Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation will use a $2.3 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to connect 3,333 people, 17 farms, 26 businesses and nine educational facilities to high-speed broadband internet in Moore County.
“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”
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.