Meta Launches Threads, Surfs Internet Acquiring MiSignal Resources, FCC Awards ACP Outreach Grant

July 5, 2023 President Joe Biden announced Monday two Republican candidates, Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson and Utah attorney general Melissa Holyoakfor the commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission.

In a statement addressed to the nomination of the chairman, the chairwoman of the FTC Lina Khan he welcomed the two candidates, saying they would bring expertise, experience and key competencies to the Commission.

Ferguson was chief adviser to the Republican leader in the US Senate Mitch McConnellthen President of the Justice Commission Lindsay GrahamR-SC, and then Chairman of the Judiciary Commission Chuck GrassleyR-IA.

Holyoak previously worked at the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, a Washington-based public interest firm, as well as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Center for Class Action Fairness and OMelveny & Myers LLP.

The FTC, an agency charged with upholding fair competition and safeguarding consumer interests, is currently led by a Democratic chairwoman along with two Democratic commissioners, Rebecca Kelly Massacre AND Alvaro Bedoya.

Two Republican vacancies have emerged following the resignations of Christine Wilson and Noah Phillips. Both expressed concerns about the overall direction of the agency under Khan’s leadership, saying the agency has departed from its traditional approach to competition and pointing out a lack of discussion and compromise.

NTIA consulting to enable certain entities to profit from the use of BEAD

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration filed a request for comment Wednesday to adjust its Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program guidance, including allowing certain entities to make a profit on builds.

Introduced in 2013 by the Office of Management and Budget, uniform guidance is a comprehensive set of guidelines designed to assist agencies in effectively managing federal funding for non-federal entities and outlines the appropriate use of these funds by recipients.

Under the existing mandate, some recipients may only use program proceeds to cover direct business expenses and may not retain them as profit. According to the notice, several interested parties have asked the NTIA to consider exemptions from this provision to allow entities, including non-profit organizations, to generate returns from investments. They argue it would encourage competition and encourage wider participation in the program, particularly in underserved and underserved areas where the lack of a favorable return on investment has been a major obstacle to infrastructure construction.

They argue that changes or waivers of these provisions would increase competition and create incentives for suppliers to participate in the programme. Comments must be submitted on August 4, 2023.

The uniform guidance has been applied to several NTIA programs such as the Broadband Infrastructure Program, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program and the Middle Mile Grants Program without significant opposition, the notice reads. However, the NTIA said the BEAD program differs from previous federal broadband funding programs and requires an unprecedented effort to maximize provider participation.

In early March, the Treasury Department also announced a new guidance proposal that allows Capital Projects Fund and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund beneficiaries to deviate from Uniform Guidance due to cost concerns.

FCC Opens June Broadband Fabric Challenges

The Federal Communications Commission began accepting challenges Monday through the June 2023 edition of the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, which serves as the underlying data for the broadband map that drives federal broadband funding allocations.

The notice requires entities to submit challenges by September 8, 2023 for data to be evaluated and included in the December iteration of the fabric. All challenges received after the deadline will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and likely included in the next map release, read the document.

The same day the commission’s Broadband Data Task Force also announced the opening of the Broadband Data Collection Repository, the FCC’s primary mechanism for collecting broadband data. After the window opens on July 3, Internet service providers are required to submit data on internet availability and subscription by September 1, 2023.

The Broadband Availability Map and its underlying fabric dataset have undergone several updates to reflect accurate information about unserved and underserved Internet locations. This notice regarding the data collection process closely follows the recent White House announcement on June 26, which disclosed the award of BEAD funding to all 50 states and territories.

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