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FCC, Congress Working on Freeing Up Device Dollars

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has been working with Congress on ways to use government subsidy money for in-home devices by teachers, students and patients. 

The FCC is trying to subsidize distance learning and telemedicine tech during the coronavirus crisis, but is not authorized to do so. 

A spokesperson for the chairman elaborated on his statement Wednesday that he has been working with Congress to free up the money as well as on a telemedicine initiative. 

Related: Five TV Sectors Impacted by COVID-19

"The Chairman and FCC staff have been in conversations with Congressional leaders and staff since last week to obtain funding for in-home devices for use by teachers, students, and patients, which the Communications Act does not authorize the FCC to subsidize," said FCC spokesperson Brian Hart.

"The telemedicine pilot program would be a quickly deployed and significantly expanded program along the lines of our Connected Care rulemaking," he said. "And the remote learning pilot program would provide remote learning capabilities outside the classroom, which is an important step given that schools are shuttering for weeks and perhaps months." 

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.