July 13, 2023

This morning, the Commission joined with the National Science Foundation to convene a forum on Artificial Intelligence. Our focus was on AI’s potential to do real good for communications, from increasing spectrum efficiency to improving network resilience with new tools to self-diagnose and self-heal network anomalies before they become communications challenges. The Commission’s August open meeting will be headlined by a proposal to explore some of these possibilities. Here’s everything we have lined up for our August agenda.

  • We’re using cutting-edge tools to improve spectrum management. Historically, the Commission’s spectrum management policies have relied on outside parties to measure how spectrum is actually being used. Considering this third-party information is made available infrequently and is generally nonpublic, meaning it’s hard to verify, our spectrum management practices could benefit from conducting our own studies of spectrum usage. We will vote to launch an inquiry to explore how the Commission might leverage new AI tools and other cutting-edge technologies and data sources to better understand the actual usage of non-federal spectrum bands.
  • We’re improving digital FM radio service. Broadcasters and consumers increasingly prefer digital FM radio, which delivers better sound quality than traditional analog FM service. The Commission will vote to seek comment on whether to change the way we determine the maximum power for digital FM broadcast stations, and also whether to streamline the process for allowing digital transmissions at different power levels on the upper and lower digital sidebands. The goal is to improve digital FM signal quality and coverage while minimizing harmful interference.
  • We’re expanding internet access in our hardest-to-serve communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law made a generational investment in making high-speed internet accessible and affordable everywhere. A big part of that investment is the Affordable Connectivity Program, which is providing discounts to help more than 19 million households get and stay connected. When creating the ACP, Congress recognized that building out to rural areas requires support for both network deployments and for affordability, and directed the Commission to offer an enhanced benefit for qualifying high-cost areas. In line with this Congressional direction, the Commission will vote to implement an ACP benefit of up to $75 a month for qualifying high-cost areas.
  • We will also consider an action from our Enforcement Bureau.