Federal, State & Industry Resources
Here is a continually updated list of federal, state and industry resources designed to help communications service providers navigate many of the challenges they're facing.
House Approves Broadband Amendments in Approps Package
House Subcommittee Holds Forum with FCC on Pandemic
CARES Act - Small Business Loans & Assistance FAQs
Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act of 2020 - Summary
Families First Coronavirus Response Act Mandates Paid Sick and Family Leave For Many Employers
Congressional COVID-19 Legislative Update
- Rural Connectivity Advancement Program (RCAP) Act of 2020, which would facilitate broadband buildout in rural communities by capturing a portion of the proceeds from spectrum auctions conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) through September 30, 2022.
- Accelerating Connected Care and Education Support Services (ACCESS) on the Internet Act, to expand reliable broadband access for education and telehealth appointments for rural America during the pandemic.
- Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced a bill that would create a pilot grant program for communities near historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) to expand access to broadband and digital opportunity.
- Sen. Scott also introduced the Governors Broadband Development Fund, joined by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mark Warner (D-VA), which prioritizes funding for areas that currently lack service, supports the deployment of advanced technologies, and encourages projects that can provide internet service quickly.
- COVID–19 Emergency Telehealth Impact Reporting Act of 2020, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to assess key health care metrics, including utilization rates and hospital readmission rates for patients who received their health care through expanded telehealth programs during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The House passed a package of six fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills on July 31, 2020, including the Financial Services and General Government funding bill. This bill, among other things, provides $376.1 million for the FCC and includes funding to implement new broadband mapping legislation. The bill also includes $61 billion in funding for the FCC to expand availability of broadband to unserved areas, and for broadband mapping and replacement of telecommunications equipment deemed to pose a national security threat to the United States.
- The Developing Economic Prosperity and Linking Our Youth through (DEPLOY) Broadband Act, to immediately fund broadband deployment in unserved and rural areas. The bill will appropriate $6.5 billion for buildout in unserved areas and will establish a minimum 10% rural dividend for future spectrum auctions and ensure funding cannot be combined with any other funds at the FCC.
- HEALS Act - a $306 billion emergency COVID-19 funding package, which includes $1 billion to fund reimbursements to small telecom providers for replacing network equipment that poses a national security threat, as mandated by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act.
- House Appropriations Committee approves the fiscal year 2021 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill, which provides over $4.214 billion for rural development programs, including over $1.055 billion, an increase of $435 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, in the expansion of broadband service to provide economic development opportunities and improved education and health care services. This includes $990 million for the ReConnect program.
- House Appropriations Committee approves fiscal year 2021 Financial Services and General Government funding bill, which, among other things, provides $376.1 million for the FCC and includes funding to implement new broadband mapping legislation.
- Flexible Financing for Rural America Act, which would allow electric cooperatives and small, rural telecommunications providers to refinance their Rural Utilities Service (RUS) debt at current market rates without penalty.
- Hotspots and Online Technology and Services Procurement for our Tribes and States (HOTSPOTS) Act, to create a 2-year, $160 million hotspot pilot program with a minimum allotment of $1.6 million per State to allow States, Tribes, and Territories to purchase and distribute Internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas.
- Broadband Adoption and Opportunity Act, bipartisan legislation to leverage public-private partnerships to refurbish internet-capable devices for students and underserved families through donation, lending, or low-cost purchasing programs.
- National Broadband Plan for the Future Act, to require the Federal Communications Commission to update the national broadband plan, and for other purposes.
- Moving Forward Act, which proposes $1.5 trillion for rebuilding U.S. communities with infrastructure and innovation, including appropriating over $100 billion to fund broadband-related programs.
- Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would enact their Emergency Educational Connections Act as part of the larger Congressional package.
- Emergency Broadband Connections Act, to provide emergency benefits for broadband service during periods relating to COVID–19, and for other purposes.
- Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Bob Latta (R-OH) announced on June 25, 2020, a comprehensive package of 26 bills that aim to streamline broadband infrastructure deployment.
- Reps. Bob Latta (R-OH), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Tim Walberg (R-MI) introduce spectrum management bill.
- Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency (PACT) Act, to require transparency, accountability, and protections for consumers online.
- Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, to make high-speed broadband internet service accessible and affordable
to all Americans, and for other purposes.
- Accelerating Broadband Connectivity Act of 2020, to accelerate rural broadband deployment.
- Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide accountability for bad actors who abuse the Good Samaritan protections provided under that Act, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 2 - Moving Forward Act, which includes $1.5 trillion in proposals rebuilds U.S. communities with infrastructure and innovation that is smarter, safer, and made to last; create millions of jobs; take bold action on the climate crisis; and address disparities in urban, suburban, and rural communities across our country. Summary
- Sen. Wicker and Rep. Walden Unveil “Broadband Connectivity and Digital Access Framework”
- Rural Connectivity Advancement Program Act of 2020, to provide funds to assess the availability, accelerate the deployment, and improve the sustainability of advanced communications services and communications infrastructure in rural America, and for other purposes.
- Expanding Opportunities for Broadband Deployment Act, to increase access to and speed the deployment of broadband to households and small businesses currently without this vital service.
- H.R. 2 - INVEST in America Act, to authorize funds for federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes.
- Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 signed into law on June 5, 2020 by President Donald J. Trump
- Exposure Notification Act introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to establish privacy requirements for operators of infectious disease exposure notification services.
- Rural Broadband Acceleration Act introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) to speed up access to high-speed internet in rural America
- Health Care Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act, which would allocate $2 billion to help health care providers increase their broadband capacity and expand telehealth services.
- H.R. 6723 - Universal Broadband Act, a bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify the eligibility of broadband internet access services for Federal universal service support, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 6800 - The Heroes Act, a bill that directs more than $3 billion to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people in response to the coronavirus.
- Continuing Online Networking, Negating Economic Conditions on Technology At Home Act, a bill to institute a moratorium on disconnections of telephone and internet services.
- Emergency Educational Connections Act, a bill to provide for E-Rate support for Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and connected devices during emergency periods relating to COVID–19, and for other purposes.
- Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility Act, a bill to amend the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to provide for a high-speed broadband deployment initiative.
- Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act, a bill to require the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to promulgate regulations to provide support to institutions of higher education for the provision of certain equipment and services to students of those institutions, and for other purposes.
- Veasy to Introduce Bill to Increase Broadband Access During Pandemic
- National Broadband Plan for the Future Act, which would require the FCC to update the national broadband plan, and for other purposes.
- Peterson Leads Bi-Partisan Delegation in Introducing Universal Broadband Act
- Pallone, Clyburn and 10 House Democrats Announce Plan to Connect All Americans to Affordable Broadband Internet
- Senators Markey, Van Hollen, Bennet, Hassan and Colleagues Plan to Introduce Legislation to Direct $4 Billion in E-Rate Funds to Close Growing Learning Gap in Coronavirus Pandemic
- Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act of 2020, a bill to support supply chain innovation and multilateral security, and for other
- H.R. 2785 - Community Broadband Act, reintroducing a bill to amend the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to preserve and protect the ability of state and local governments and public-private partnerships to provide broadband services.
- H.R. 6456 - Serving Rural America Act, a bill to establish a grant program that provides grants to expand broadband service.
- H.R. 6474 - Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act, a bill to provide for the expansion of the Rural Health Care Program of the FCC in response to COVID–19, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 6491 - Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility Act, a bill to amend the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to provide for a high-speed broadband deployment initiative.
- S. 3189 - A bill to use proceeds from spectrum auctions to support supply chain innovation and multilateral security.
- S. 3569 - Keeping Critical Connections Act, a bill to help small business broadband providers keep customers connected.
July 28, 2020 - The PACT Act and Section 230: The Impact of the Law that Helped Create the Internet and an Examination of Proposed Reforms for Today’s Online World
June 24, 2020 - Senate Commerce Committee: Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission
June 24, 2020 - House Energy & Commerce Joint Hearing: A Country in Crisis: How Disinformation Online is Dividing the Nation
May 13, 2020 - The State of Broadband Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Authorization for network companies to demonstrate that they are essential, and may have to travel in areas restricted as a result of the virus:
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
CISA Integrated Operations Coordination Center (CISA IOCC)
National Communications & Coordination Branch – COMM-ISAC
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The CARES Act Provides Assistance to Small Businesses
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Coronavirus Legislative Tracking Center - Free resources to help navigate states' responses to the coronavirus. Track and compare legislation and governors orders in every state. Continually updated.
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Kelley Drye & Warren LLP