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Executive Order 13985 – Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government

On the first day of the Biden-Harris Administration, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, calling for a comprehensive approach for the Federal Government to transform itself—for fairness and equity to become not just ideals, but principles embedded in the daily practices by which Government serves its people. Federal agencies collectively serve as the nation’s largest employer and largest buyer and carry out missions that allow individuals, State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, educational systems, businesses, and industries here in the United States and abroad to thrive. However, too many people have been historically underserved and experienced marginalization, disenfranchisement, and lost opportunity. In furtherance of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to a whole-of-government effort to advance equity and racial justice, along with other Federal agencies all across the government, the Federal Communications Commission has developed this Equity Action Plan to guide its efforts to achieve the goals of this historic effort.

FCC’s Equity Team

The FCC established a cross-agency team to complete this Equity Action Plan. The team is led by D’wana Terry, who serves both as Acting Special Advisor to Chairwoman Rosenworcel, where she advises the Chairwoman on work the agency can do to identify and redress inequities in the FCC's policies and programs, and as Acting Director of the FCC's Office of Workplace Diversity. Additional members of the team include representatives from the Office of Communications Business Opportunities, the Office of Economics and Analytics, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Managing Director, and the Office of Media Relations. The team’s work was supported by staff in the FCC’s Bureaus and Offices.

Notable Accomplishments Since Executive Order 13985 Issuance in January 2021

Preventing Digital Discrimination Rulemaking: The FCC has established a Task Force to Prevent Digital Discrimination and also issued a Notice of Inquiry to gather information in advance of conducting this vital Rulemaking. The Task Force will focus on creating rules and policies to combat digital discrimination and to promote equal access to broadband across the country, regardless of zip code, income level, ethnicity, race, religion, or national origin.

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP): In January of 2022, the Commission launched the ACP, which is a $14.2 billion federal initiative that offers qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet from participating providers. The ACP is the congressionally created successor to the FCC's previous broadband affordability program, the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBBP). To date, the ACP building upon the EBBP has successfully helped over 11 million households afford internet service.

Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF): In June 2021, the Commission launched the ECF, a $7.17 billion program that is helping schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. Since its launch, the program has connected over 12.5 million students with broadband connections and equipment. Total commitments to date have funded over 10 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections.

Broadband Mapping: The FCC is in the process of updating its current broadband maps with more detailed and precise information on the availability of fixed and mobile broadband services. In February of 2021, the Commission formed a Broadband Data Task Force to coordinate and expedite the design and construction of new systems for collecting and verifying data to carry out the FCC’s responsibilities under the Broadband DATA Act and to more accurately measure and reflect broadband needs across the United States.

Key Links to Items Related to FCC Equity Action Plan

 

 

Updated:
Friday, March 3, 2023