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Telecom Alert: Infrastructure Bill Includes $65 Billion in Broadband Funding; RDOF Funding Ready for Authorization; Emergency Connectivity Fund Webinar; STIR/SHAKEN Report and Order; EBB Enrollment [Vol. XVIII, Issue 31]

Infrastructure Bill Includes $65 Billion in Broadband Funding

Last week, the White House announced bipartisan support for a $550 billion infrastructure bill that includes $65 billion to support broadband deployment.  $40 billion of the funding would be distributed to states by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to provide sub-grants for the provision of internet service in unserved and underserved areas.  The infrastructure bill would also adopt the Digital Equity Act, would address digital redlining, and would make the Emergency Broadband Benefit permanent.  Please see our recent blog post on this issue.

RDOF Funding Ready for Authorization

The FCC announced that it is ready to authorize over $311 million in broadband funding to 48 winning bidders through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) (Vol. XVII, Issue 50).  The RDOF Phase I Auction, which concluded in December 2020, initially granted 180 winning bidders a total of $9.23 billion in funding.  The 48 winning bidders must submit acceptable irrevocable standby letters of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letters by 6:00 p.m. EST on August 9.  The Commission also announced a list of winning bidders that defaulted on their bids and are subject to forfeitures.  The FCC is continuing to evaluate the long-form applications of other winning bidders. 

Emergency Connectivity Fund Webinar

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing that it will host an informational webinar on the Emergency Connectivity Fund (Vol. XVIII, Issue 27) Program at 2:00 p.m. EST on August 3.  The Fund will allow schools and libraries to apply for support to purchase laptops, tablets, WiFi hotspots, and other equipment needed to provide internet service.  The webinar will highlight frequently asked questions about the Program and application process, and participants will be able to submit any additional questions they may have before, during, or after the event.  The webinar will be recorded and available on the FCC’s website.

STIR/SHAKEN Report and Order

The FCC will vote on a Third Report and Order at its Open Meeting on August 5 that would establish a process to review decisions of the STIR/SHAKEN Governance Authority.  The Governance Authority, a private entity comprised of representatives from the voice service industry that oversees the STIR/SHAKEN framework, may revoke the ability of a non-compliant voice service provider to participate in the STIR/SHAKEN program.  Currently, the FCC does not have authority to review Governance Authority decisions. The Third Report and Order would allow voice service providers aggrieved by a Governance Authority revocation decision to file a request for review to the FCC and permit third parties to file oppositions and replies. 

EBB Enrollment Over 4 Million

Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced last week that over four million households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) Program (Vol. XVIII, Issue 20).  There has been about $196 million of the $3.2 million in available funding claimed so far, with over 1,100 broadband providers agreeing to take part in the Program.  The EBB Program will continue until the $3.2 billion runs out or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic. 

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 214
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About this Author

Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

Casey Lide represents clients on a broad range of communications matters including telecommunications, cable television, broadband Internet access service, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Casey counsels public- and private-sector clients on contract drafting and negotiation matters, including fiber optic IRUs and leases, easements, franchises, attachment agreements, ISP service agreements, interconnection and collocation agreements, strategic MoUs and others.   

He collaborates...

202-434-4186
C. Douglas Jarrett, Keller Heckman, telecommunications lawyer, procurement law
Partner

Douglas Jarrett joined Keller and Heckman in 1979. Mr. Jarrett specializes in telecommunications law, policy and procurement matters.

Mr. Jarrett is a recognized expert in representing enterprises in negotiating telecommunications services agreements with the major wireline and wireless carriers, domestically and globally.  He also advises enterprises on M2M services, cloud computing and IVR technology procurements. 

Mr. Jarrett represents technology companies in securing amendments to the FCC rules to enable the...

202-434-4180
Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
Partner

Wesley Wright joined Keller and Heckman in 2006 and practices in the areas of telecommunications law.  He assists corporate clients and trade associations with various legal and regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, courts and state agencies.

Mr. Wright’s practice includes private wireless licensing, FCC enforcement, and related transactional matters.  He counsels clients on internal operations and governance matters and has drafted and negotiated asset purchase agreements,...

202.434.4239
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