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Senate Slates Pandemic-Related Broadband Hearing

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing May 13 on “The State of Broadband Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic." 

The hearing will look at FCC efforts to expand broadband while keeping low-income residents connected despite difficulty in paying or inability to pay. 

Related: COVID-19 Crisis Hits TV Industry

It will also look at CARES Act broadband funding, which included $200 million for an FCC telehealth program, and legislative proposals for using funds in further COVID-19 aid bills to close the rural digital divide. 

Witnesses include Steven Berry, CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association, Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-the Rural Broadband Association, and Jonathan Spalter, CEO of USTelecom. 

Notably absent from the list at press time was anyone from NCTA-the Internet & Television Association or ACA Connects, whose members include cable ISPs committed to the FCC's connectivity pledge and who have gone beyond that pledge to keep a shelter-in-place populace communicating.

Asked why neither was on the guest list, a spokesperson for the Committee would only say: "US Telecom represents wired broadband providers. As does NTCA."