Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Official FCC Blog

An Additional Option for Filing Open Internet Comments

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC Chief Information Officer
September 11, 2014 - 04:15 PM

The volume of public feedback in the Open Internet proceeding has been commensurate with the importance of the effort to preserve a free and open Internet.

The Commission is working to ensure that all comments are processed and that we have a full accounting of the number received as soon as possible. Most important, all of these comments will be considered as part of the rulemaking process.  While our system is catching up with the surge of public comments, we are providing a third avenue for submitting feedback on the Open Internet proceeding.

In the Commission’s embrace of Open Data and a commitment to openness and transparency throughout the Open Internet proceedings, the FCC is making available a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file for bulk upload of comments given the exceptional public interest. All comments will be received and recorded through the same process we are applying for the openinternet@fcc.gov emails.

Attached is a link to the CSV file template along with instructions. Once completed, the CSV file can be emailed to openinternet@fcc.gov where if it matches the template the individual comments will be filed for the public record with the Electronic Comment Filing System. When you email this file, please use the subject “CSV”. We encourage CSV files of 9MB or less via email.

The Commission welcomes the record-setting level of public input in this proceeding, and we want to do everything we can to make sure all voices are heard and reflected in the public record.

Read more »

USF Contribution Factor Over Time

by Michael O'Rielly, FCC Commissioner
September 11, 2014 - 03:22 PM

The chart below shows the steady increase over time in the FCC’s USF Contribution Factor, which is the percentage of interstate and international end-user telecommunications revenues that telecommunications service providers must contribute to support the ever growing federal universal service fund. Today, the FCC announced the contribution factor has increased for the fourth quarter of 2014 by .4 percent to 16.1 percent. This means that American consumers will pay a 16.1% fee on a portion of their telephone bills for USF.

While there are a number of factors resulting in this trend line, including moving to a more explicit system and shrinking revenues, this path is clearly disturbing and unsustainable. The chart helps highlight that contribution reform is necessary. Also, I reiterate my call for an overall budget cap on universal service, which can help limit the demand placed on the collection side.

Chart-USF-Contribution-Factor-Over-Time
Read more »

Updating Old Policies; Pioneering New Ones

by Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman
September 9, 2014 - 01:38 PM

Since becoming Chairman, I’ve spoken often about the importance of reviewing the FCC’s rules and processes, and eliminating or modernizing outdated practices that no longer make sense. There is no better example of an FCC rule that has outlived its usefulness and deserves to be eliminated than our sports blackout rule.

In 1975, the Commission enacted rules barring cable from airing a game that has been blacked out on the local television station because it was not sold out – strengthening the NFL’s blackout policy. Today, the rules make no sense at all.   

The sports blackout rules are a bad hangover from the days when barely 40 percent of games sold out and gate receipts were the league’s principal source of revenue.  Last weekend, every single game was sold out. More significantly, pro football is now the most popular content on television. NFL games dominated last week’s ratings, and the Super Bowl has effectively become a national holiday. With the NFL’s incredible popularity, it’s not surprising that last year the League made $10 billion in revenue and only two games were blacked-out.

Clearly, the NFL no longer needs the government’s help to remain viable. And we at the FCC shouldn’t be complicit in preventing sports fans from watching their favorite teams on TV. It’s time to sack the sports blackout rule.

That’s why today, I am sending to my fellow commissioners a proposal to get rid of the FCC’s blackout rule once and for all. It fulfills a commitment I made in June. We will vote on the proposal at the Commission’s open meeting on September 30. 

Read more »

Spreading the Good Word about Lifeline

by Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner
September 8, 2014 - 01:34 PM

Most Americans take their home phone service for granted. But for families who are struggling to pay for food, clothing and shelter, phone service is a luxury that often must be put on hold for better times. Unfortunately, those better times may be elusive without the connection that basic phone service provides to jobs, support from family and friends, and emergency services.

That's where the FCC's Lifeline program fits in. Since 1985, Lifeline has offered a discount on phone service to low-income consumers so that everyone can have access to the jobs, opportunities and security that a home phone provides. This week, the FCC is teaming up with our partners in the states to host Lifeline Awareness Week to get out the word about this vital program. We want to make sure that low-income consumers are aware of the program – and understand the rules for participation.

Together with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, our partners in Lifeline Awareness Week, we have posted on our web site important information about program benefits and the rules for companies and consumers alike. For example, companies must only sign up consumers who are eligible, and consumers must recertify their eligibility annually – or else lose their Lifeline service. This way, we preserve Lifeline for those who need it the most.

The most important point of Lifeline Awareness Week is this: empowering the neediest among us with the benefits of basic communications benefits society as a whole by helping lift families out of poverty and expanding opportunities. Spread the word!

Read more »

The Future of FCC.GOV

by Dr. David A. Bray, FCC Chief Information Officer
September 5, 2014 - 03:47 PM

In August the FCC launched a project to improve fcc.gov and unify all of our related subdomains. The project is focused on enhancing our website to allow the FCC to more effectively meet the needs of our site’s internal and external stakeholders.

To ensure optimal usability for fcc.gov users, the FCC has partnered with industry leaders on user experience, search and analytics. Over the next four months, the project team will conduct research, prototyping, and usability-testing to complete a data and stakeholder-driven design for fcc.gov.

The first phase of the project will be completed by mid-January and will include improved search capabilities of the FCC’s current publicly available content and a working prototype of the new fcc.gov. Phase one of the project will focus on four key areas:

Read more »

A Brief History of Competition Policies and Networks

by Jon Sallet, General Counsel
September 5, 2014 - 01:13 PM

Yesterday, Chairman Wheeler gave an important speech on the status and the future of broadband competition, emphasizing the increasingly limited choices emerging for American consumers for wired broadband connections at the higher speeds that consumers increasingly demand. He looked at the facts and the future, recognizing that “meaningful competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking and that Americans need more competitive choices for faster and better Internet connections.”

The status of competition today is, of course, the sum total of past actions, including past policy perspectives on the nature of competition, which the Chairman also recognized.

As it happens, two large anniversaries in the past 12 months marked critical epochs in the history of America’s approach to communications industries and competition.

December 2013 was the 100th anniversary of the so-called Kingsbury Commitment, the antitrust settlement struck between American Telephone & Telegraph and the Department of Justice.  The Commitment set a national policy favoring regulated monopoly over competition but failed to consider the steps that government could have taken to boost competition, such as the establishment of interconnection obligations between competing local telephone companies. 

This was the Era of Regulation: when monopoly was considered an act of nature and government stood in the shoes of consumers. From 1913 until the early 1980s, the prevailing view favored just one telecommunications network – “Ma Bell” – with the government using regulation to do what consumers were not permitted to do – discipline their supplier and decide what’s best.

Read more »

Alaska: Lessons Learned

by Michael O'Rielly, FCC Commissioner
September 5, 2014 - 12:49 PM

Fulfilling a commitment I made last year to its congressional delegation, I spent a portion of August traveling throughout Alaska.  I wish to sincerely thank Congressman Young and Senators Murkowski and Begich and their respective staffs for sharing their state with my staff and me.   

Over eight days, I met with many Alaskan communications providers, state and local officials and tribal organizations, and visited several rural health care clinics and schools.  Most importantly, I was able to talk with Alaskans about their communications experiences and future needs, including at community discussions hosted at Old Harbor, Pilot Point and the Bristol Bay Native Association.  From this experience, I came away with a number of valuable lessons learned that I will keep with me in my current role at the FCC.    

Read more »

FCC Welcomes TechGirls

by Anita Dey, Chief, Regional & Bilateral Affairs Branch, Strategic Analysis and Negotiations Division, International Bureau
September 4, 2014 - 01:43 PM

Tech Girls

Left to right: Mindel De La Torre (Chief, International Bureau), Imene Benzenache (TechGirl), Shahdan Abd El Kareem (TechGirl), Anita Dey, Isabelle Styslinger (IB/SAND Intern), Ena Dekanic (IB/SAND Legal Fellow).

Recently, the International Bureau hosted two remarkable “TechGirls,” 15-year-old Shahdan Abd El Kareem from Egypt and 17-year-old Imene Benzenache from Algeria, for a day of discussions and meetings with senior FCC leaders.  TechGirls is an international exchange program organized by the State Department that brings young women from the Middle East and North Africa on a three-week trip to the United States to explore career opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).  The FCC’s International Bureau has hosted girls frrm this program since the program began three years ago.  

Throughout the day, the TechGirls met with senior FCC leaders who shared their experiences as women professionals in the communications sector, offering advice on how they can achieve their goals and overcome societal and cultural expectations.   

Read more »

Adding More Color to the E-rate Maps

by Eric Spry, Acting Geographic Information Officer
August 20, 2014 - 11:28 AM

Today we are pleased to release our first update to the FCC E-rate Maps of Fiber Connectivity to Schools and Libraries reflecting feedback we have received from stakeholders. These valuable data from state programs, school districts, and Internet providers across the country have helped us turn the gray, unknown, parts of the map to a known fiber connectivity status.

We are grateful for the interest these maps have already received and are pleased to release an updated version of the maps today, just one week after our initial release.  This version of the maps includes comments received and verified as of 3:30p EDT on 8/18/14 and modifies the weighting schemes to give a stronger preference to data submitted expressly for the purposes of this E-rate proceeding. 

The E-rate maps will continue to evolve and improve, along with the underlying data, available on the E-Rate Modernization Data page. We hope that stakeholders in the E-rate process will continue to stay engaged with our team by submitting feedback to schoolfibermap@fcc.gov for schools and libraryfibermap@fcc.gov for libraries.

Read more »

Moving Forward with a Data-Driven E-rate Modernization Process

by Jon Wilkins, Managing Director
August 12, 2014 - 02:12 PM

Last month the Commission took a major step forward in modernizing E-rate by tackling the school and library Wi-Fi gap, maximizing cost-effective purchasing, and phasing down support for non-broadband services. In addition, the item includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on, among other things, the long-term funding needs of the program in light of the overall broadband goals and the annual $1 billion target for Wi-Fi adopted in the E-rate Modernization Order

Chairman Wheeler has made clear that data will drive answers to questions about program funding, based on an understanding of current school and library connectivity and the projected costs necessary for all schools and libraries to meet the goals adopted in the E-rate Modernization Order. 

In support of this objective, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Strategic Planning and Policy today released a staff report summarizing what we have learned to date as the result of an extraordinary effort to collect and analyze data, both about the current state of communications technology in America’s libraries and schools as well as the way the E-Rate program provides support.  We also published two maps providing a visualization of current fiber availability for schools and libraries across the country.  

The report is a highly illuminating read, both for longtime experts in the E-rate program as well as those more broadly interested in the state of education technology in America today.  A few insights from the report really stand out:

Read more »
close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.