Today’s Regulatory Mix: FTC Warns of EBBP Scam, Second Round RDOF Update from the FCC
FTC Warns of EBBP Scam
The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about a scam to “help” sign up for a government program that will give you a “free” device and internet service in exchange for money or personal information. Certainly, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is designed to assist households during the COVID-19 pandemic by giving a one-time discount to help buy a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. The program also gives people monthly discounts for internet service. But it’s free to sign up for this program. To avoid these scams, the FTC suggests consumers:
- Only apply through the FCC and its listed providers. The only real way to sign up for the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program is at GetEmergencyBroadband.org. If another company says it can sign you up for this program, check first to see if they’re an approved provider.
- Don’t pay up front to get “free” connected devices or services. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is free to sign up for those who qualify. Never pay to sign up to get benefits.
- Don’t give your financial or other personal information to someone who calls, texts, or emails and says they’re with the FCC. If you think a call or message could be real, stop. Call the Emergency Broadband Support Center at 1-833-511-0311 to check.
Second Round RDOF Update from the FCC
The FCC announced that $163,895,636 is ready to be authorized to 42 providers in the second round of funding for new broadband deployments for unserved areas through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. These broadband providers will bring fiber-to-the-home to approximately 65,000 locations in 21 states over the next 10 years. “More help is on the way to households without broadband,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This is an important program for getting more Americans connected to high-speed internet, and we are continuing careful oversight of this process to ensure that providers meet their obligations to deploy in areas that need it.” The Commission continues to closely review long-form applications of other winning bidders that were previously announced to ensure they meet the technical, financial, and operational capabilities to comply with program obligations. In July, the Commission sent letters to 197 winning bidders offering providers an opportunity to withdraw their funding requests from places where there was evidence of service or where questions of waste have been raised. 85 winning bidders have chosen not to pursue buildout in 5,089 census blocks.
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.