FCC Provides $361M More in Broadband Funding; $4.2B Provided So Far Even Though Americans Already Paid For Broadband

By B.N. Frank

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) including one by a group of telecom experts, “The Irregulators”, that proved Americans have already paid for telecom-related services that many have still not received – including high-speed broadband via safer, more secure, and more reliable fiber optics to the premises (FTTP) and copper landline connections (see 1, 2).  Despite the lawsuit, overcharging Americans for these services has continued.  Additionally, government funds are continuing to be given to companies to provide these already-paid-for services.  The Infrastructure Bill (see 1, 2, 3), the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) (see 1, 2), and other internet connectivity funds will also primarily support the deployment of more unsafe, unreliable, and inferior Wi-Fi and 5G broadband connections.  In fact, today the FCC announced it is allocating hundreds of millions more to provide “Wi-Fi hot spots”, “to build new networks”, and “fund more than 313,000 broadband connections”.

From RCR Wireless:

Another $361 million in emergency broadband funding heads out the door

By Kelly Hill

January 12, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission has made another $361 million in funding commitments, in a seventh wave of funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund for schools and libraries. The program has committed funds for nearly $4.2 billion to date.

This round will fund more than 313,000 broadband connections and nearly 654,000 connected devices to connect 802 schools, 49 libraries and eight consortia of schools plus libraries. The FCC said that the funds will help connect around 700,000 schoolchildren.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund is a $7.17 billion program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries support remote learning. It can be used to support virtual and off-campus learning, including internet access for nightly homework.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called the Emergency Connectivity Fund “the single largest effort to close the Homework Gap by bringing connectivity and devices to students and library patrons. The need for this support is apparent in both rural and urban America and I’m pleased to note that with this funding we are supporting communities stretching from Aniak, Alaska to New York City.”

The “homework gap” refers to students not having either internet access or an appropriate device in order to complete work that requires connectivity, either for virtual learning during the school day, or once they leave campus and return home. While most schools have returned to in-person instruction, the current omicron surge of Covid-19 has forced some districts to temporarily return to virtual learning.

This is the FCC’s second wave of ECF funding commitments in less than a month; the previous announcement in late December included $603 million in funds.

The ECF helps subsidize the cost of devices for use by students, school staff and library patrons off-campus, including laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hot spots, modems or air cards, routers and devices that have both a router and a modem. It does not cover smartphones.

In terms of services, ECF funds can be used to purchase fixed or mobile broadband services to support such devices, and in limited circumstances where there are no available service options that support remote learning, ECF funds can be used to build new networks.

The FCC is supposed to protect Americans by regulating telecommunications-related industries (i.e. broadband, cable, and wireless).  It has failed to do so for decades (see 1, 2).  Most – if not all – former and current FCC appointees have been employed by these industries when they weren’t working for the agency!  Over the years, other lawsuits and petitions have been filed against the FCC as well (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Activist Post reports regularly about the FCC, “Big Telecom”, and unsafe technology.  For more information visit our archives and the following websites.

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