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June 26, 2024

This week marks the official start of the summer, and, while the days may be getting shorter, the Commission’s first open meeting of the season is not. Here’s what to expect for our jam-packing July agenda.

  • We’re bringing common sense and fairness to correctional facility phone rates. The Commission’s long-running efforts to provide relief for families of incarcerated people forced to pay exorbitant and unreasonable telephone rates got a major boost in January 2023 when the President signed the bipartisan Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act. The Commission will consider rules to implement this law, which fundamentally reforms the regulation of communications services for correctional facilities and significantly lowers the rates that incarcerated people and their loved ones will pay for their audio and video communications.
  • We’re modernizing support to close the Homework Gap. The Affordable Connectivity Program and the Emergency Connectivity Fund—the two of the largest one-time efforts ever to bridge America’s digital divide—helped millions of households get and stay connected, but funding for both programs has lapsed. The Commission will vote on rules to allow schools and libraries to use E-Rate resources to offer Wi-Fi hotspots for loan, which will provide internet access for students and library patrons across the country.
  • We’re unlocking consumer choice and competition in the mobile marketplace. Unlocking handsets allows consumers to take their existing mobile phone with them when they switch from one wireless service provider to another. This makes switching service providers easier and promotes competition. The Commission will consider a proposal to update our existing handset unlocking requirements, which apply to particular providers in specific circumstances, and expand them to establish a broadly applicable set of requirements for all service providers. This plan would require all mobile providers to unlock a consumer’s handset 60 days after it is activated.
  • We’re accelerating improvements to 911. Many states and localities are investing aggressively to roll out Next Generation 911, which will support voice, text, data, and video and make the 911 system more resilient. To speed this transition, the Commission will vote to create a consistent NG911 transition framework at the national level, which spells out rules that govern what service providers must do to enable 911 upgrades, while providing flexibility to local authorities.
  • We’re improving video programming accessibility for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. The FCC has standards for closed captioning that enable users to customize the font, size, color, and other display features of captions. For too many, these tools are too hard to find. The Commission will vote on rules to make display settings for closed captioning more “readily accessible” to improve the use of captioning.

— Jessica

Wednesday, June 26, 2024