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FCC Holding Virtual Emergency Broadband Roundtable

FCC's acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel

The FCC has gotten hundreds of pages worth of input from stakeholders on how to hand out the $3.2 billion in emergency broadband funds--Congress gave the FCC 60 days to come up with the plan--but acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel is looking for a public dialogue as well as a data drop.

She announced Thursday (Jan. 28) that the FCC will hold a virtual roundtable Feb. 12 to "gather public input" on how to structure the program.

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The $3.2 billion was included in the COVID-19 aid package passed by Congress at the end of the last Congress.

Using its Lifeline broadband subsidy program as the model/vehicle, the FCC can give eligible households up to $50 per month in a broadband subsidy, $75 per month for tribal lands, and up to $100 for "certain connected devices" if the household pitches on the cost as well. 

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Initial comments on the program were due Jan. 25, with reply comments due Feb. 16.

Rosenworcel's office said the roundtable "will allow interested parties an opportunity to share ideas on the important public policy and program administration decisions that will shape the Commission’s approach."

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.