Today's Regulatory Mix: Kansas Announces New Broadband Office and New Grants, FCC’s Rosenworcel Releases Second Half of Podcast, FCC E-Rate Funding Announced
Kansas Announces New Broadband Office and New GrantsKansas Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order #20-67 to establish the Office of Broadband Development and announced the distribution of nearly $50 million in Connectivity Emergency Response Grant (CERG) funds to underserved communities across Kansas. The Office of Broadband Development will be housed in the Kansas Department of Commerce and will:
- Evaluate and report annually on the extent, quality, and affordability of broadband offerings in Kansas;
- Develop strategies to facilitate construction of broadband infrastructure necessary to achieve functionally universal broadband access for Kansas homes and businesses;
- And develop and advocate for policies that make high-quality broadband service more accessible, affordable, and reliable in underserved and vulnerable communities.
“Broadband access has been an overlooked problem in Kansas and across the country for years, particularly in our rural and vulnerable communities,” Governor Kelly said. “Today’s announcements mark a significant step forward in my administration’s commitment to achieving the universal broadband coverage that will make our state’s communities competitive economically, healthier, and improve educational access.”
FCC’s Rosenworcel Releases Second Half of Podcast
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel announced the release of Part II of a special episode of her podcast, Broadband Conversations. See the Regulatory Mix dated 10/6/20.Part II of the podcase continues her conversation with five female school Superintendents from across the country. Listeners continue to hear from Dr. Kristi Wilson from Arizona, Dr. Ann Levett from Georgia, Krestin Bahr and Dr. Susan Enfield from Washington, and Heidi Sipe from Oregon
Rosenworcel said: “Millions of students are learning remotely, logging into school at kitchen tables and on living room couches. But for the nearly 17 million children who lack internet at home and are caught in the Homework Gap, the virtual classroom is out of reach. Hearing from this group of five women superintendents demonstrates just how urgent it is to get every student connected nationwide. The bottom line is that this especially cruel part of the digital divide needs a fix right now. We can start by updating E-Rate, the nation’s largest education technology program, so that during this pandemic—and after—no child is left offline.”
FCC E-Rate Funding Announced
The FCC announced that $1,366,378 in E-Rate funding for 291 schools serving 220,584 students in 32 states and Puerto Rico has been committed so far during the its second application window for funding year 2020. See the Regulatory Mix dated 9/17/20. During the second filing window, schools can purchase additional bandwidth for this academic year to address needs resulting from the increasing shift to 1:1 student-to-device ratios in classrooms, live streaming of classroom instruction to students at home, and expanding use of cloud-based educational tools and platforms—all of which can significantly increase on campus bandwidth requirements. This filing window will close on October 16, 2020. The FCC said that additional funding commitments will be issued in coming weeks.
“The enthusiastic response to this second opportunity to apply for funding speaks to the tremendous demand schools across the country are facing as teachers and students adapt to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I’m pleased funds are being distributed to help schools meet this demand all across America and that we can help more students connect with their schools during the pandemic.”
USDA Announces Broadband Grants In Colorado
The USDA announced it awarded a $6.3 million ReConnect grant to Emery Telecommunications & Video Inc. Emery will use the grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,638 people, 91 farms, 52 businesses, three fire stations and two post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Dolores, San Miguel and Montezuma counties in Colorado.
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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.