Over the past 48 hours, I previewed the headline items for the Commission’s November meeting in a news release and in remarks to the National Conference on Domestic Violence and at the annual Everett C. Parker Lecture. So while there may not be much drama remaining about our November agenda, there’s certainly no shortage of substance. Here’s everything we have on deck for our November Open Meeting.
- We’re taking new measures to close the digital divide. In November 2021, Congress adopted and President Biden signed into law the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This law included the first broadband access anti-discrimination provisions of the digital age, requiring the FCC to adopt rules by November 15, 2023 to “prevent” and identify necessary steps to “eliminate” digital discrimination. The Commission will consider rules to meet its obligations under the law.
- We’re empowering survivors of domestic violence. The Commission will consider rules to help domestic violence survivors access safe and affordable connectivity and to fulfill the Commission’s obligations under the Safe Connections Act of 2022. These new rules will help survivors separate service lines from accounts that include their abusers, protect the privacy of calls made by survivors to domestic abuse hotlines, and support survivors who suffer from financial hardship.
- We’re exploring the implications of AI for robocalls and robotexts. Artificial intelligence technologies can generate automated voice calls and text messages, while also enabling tools to help filter out sophisticated spam and phishing schemes that cost Americans millions each year. We will vote to open an inquiry on how best to seize the opportunities of AI regarding robocalls and robotexts, while mitigating the harms.
- We’re protecting cell phone consumers from fraud. The Commission will vote on rules to crack down on scammers who take over victims’ cell phone accounts by covertly swapping SIM cards to a new device or porting phone numbers to a new carrier. If adopted, the FCC’s Privacy and Data Protection Task Force will take the lead in closing the loophole that leaves consumers open to this kind of fraud.
- We’re bolstering amateur radio. We will vote on a proposal to incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio bands by removing outdated restrictions and providing licensees with the flexibility to use modern digital emissions.
- We’re reducing regulatory requirements for a rural provider of access for long-distance services. In light of dramatic changes in the marketplace for long-distance voice services, the Commission will vote on relieving the Minnesota Independent Equal Access Corporation from dominant carrier regulation for its service for originating and completing long-distance calls.
- We will also consider three items from our Enforcement Bureau.