Summer has finally arrived, but the Commission is unusually busy. Since going live with our Emergency Broadband Benefit last month, we’ve enrolled millions of households in this unprecedented effort to give Americans substantial discounts on home broadband service, and that number continues to grow by the day. Next week, we will open the application filing window for the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund—our nation’s largest single effort ever to make sure students have access to the broadband and devices they need for homework and remote school. At the same time, we continue to move forward on work that is central to the Commission’s core responsibilities and work that helps make the agency more accessible to the public. Here are the items we have lined up for our July open meeting.
- We’re putting the finishing touches on a program to remove and replace insecure equipment from our wireless networks. In 2020, the Commission adopted rules and established a program to reimburse telecommunications providers for costs to remove, replace, and dispose of communications equipment and services in their networks that pose an unacceptable risk to national security. Late last year, Congress appropriated $1.895 billion to implement this program, while also calling for modifications. The Commission will be voting on a Report and Order to incorporate these Congressionally mandated changes, such as expanding eligibility for the program to allow more carriers to participate and expanding the types of services and equipment that are eligible for reimbursement funding.
- We’re enabling the use of state-of-the-art radar sensing technologies. The radar market has never been so dynamic. State-of-the-art radar sensing technology is enabling a new era of technological innovation that is shaping the future of the cars we drive and the phones in our pockets. With the right policies in place, we can help spur the use of these radars for vital sign monitoring in car seats that will enhance in-vehicle safety, for touchless control of device functions or features that can benefit users with mobility or speech impairments, and for much, much more. So the Commission will consider a proposal to expand the permissible uses for short-range radars in the 57-64 GHz band and ensure that all these new uses can coexist with each other.
- We’re cleaning up our broadcast radio rules. The Commission’s current rules for full-power and translator radio stations contain a number of provisions that are redundant, outdated, or in conflict with other rules. We will vote on a proposal to update and clean up these rules to reduce any potential confusion, alleviate unnecessary burdens, and make sure they reflect the latest technical requirements.
- We’re updating our filing requirements for the digital age. While the overwhelming majority of applications to the Commission must be filed electronically, we still have paper filing requirements. The Commission will be voting on a proposal to mandate electronic filings for certain applications to our International Bureau and to remove certain duplicate paper filing requirements. This common-sense move would reduce costs and administrative burdens, facilitate faster and more efficient communications, and improve transparency to the public.
- We will also consider an item from our Enforcement Bureau.