The Federal Communications Commission said it has approved a first tranche of 62 telehealth applications for $41.98 million in its second round of funding for COVID-19 telehealth services.
In round one, the FCC allocated $200 million of CARES Act funding for 539 applications from 47 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
The money goes to healthcare providers, but then some of it is passed along to broadband service providers. That‘s because the funds can be used to pay for telecommunications and information services, as well as connected devices, so consumer technology companies also benefit from the program.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to health care has proven to be not only a national issue, but also a local issue, and it is imperative that every community is given the tools to access this care as safely and effectively as possible," said acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel.
She said the FCC factored in the hardest-hit and lowest-income areas, including tribal areas and previously unfunded states and territories, in deciding how to distribute the initial funds in the $249 million telehealth program mandated by Congress.
The next tranche will go to the next highest-scoring areas, in terms of need, until at least $150 million has been committed.
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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.