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FCC CONTINUES TO TAKE STEPS TO HELP DURING COVID-19

posted Mar 25, 2020, 2:22 PM by IT Admin
March 25, 2020 -  In its latest actions the FCC has taken to address COVID-19 and connectivity, FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai is "committed to using every legal means at the FCC’s disposal to help Americans deal with the coronavirus pandemic." As a reminder, you can track everything on the FCC's response to COVID-19 at https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected.

  • FCC granted Verizon temporary access to AW3-band spectrum licensed to other companies. The FCC also granted Verizon and AT&T temporary access to AWS-4 band spectrum licensed to DISH. These moves will help ensure that, as more Americans turn to telework, 
  • remote learning, and telehealth, wireless networks have additional capacity.
  • Unfortunately, scammers and frausters are taking advantage of this crisis to try and rip off Americans by preying on coronavirus-related fears. The FCC launched a COVID-19 Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips webpage to help make consumers aware of these scams and guard against fraud. The page includes audio samples of fraudulent calls as well as additional resources from other agencies like the FDA and FTC.
  • In order to slow the spread of this disease, communication to the public about social distancing and other health and safety information is vital. The FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling to ensure that public health authorities can communicate to the public by phone without worrying about running afoul of anti-robocall law. Specifically, the FCC confirmed that COVID-19 constitutes an "emergency" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and that hospitals, health care providers, and state and local health officials may lawfully communicate information.
  • The FCC announced that its monthly meeting, scheduled for March 31, will be held wholly online and open to viewing by the public at https://www.fcc.gov/live. Because of these extraordinary circumstances, the agenda items will be voted on by Commissioners prior to the meeting.
  • The Keep Americans Connected Pledge has surpassed 500 signers for a total of 580, and more continue to roll in. These broadband and telephone providers have agreed 1) not to terminate service due to the inability of consumers to pay bills during this crisis, 2) waive late fees caused by the pandemic, and 3) open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them. Many companies have gone above and beyond the pledge, including offering free service to low-income households and students. Some of those new offerings we've seen since our prior announcements are listed here.
  • And finally, the FCC moved its 3.5 GHz auction from June 25 to July 23 due to the pandemic. The Commission also indefinitely postponed an auction of FM construction permits originally scheduled for April 28. These changes were deemed necessary in order to protect the health and safety of FCC staff and to allow partied additional time to prepare for the auctions.
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