Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.

This publication will go on a two-week hiatus over the holidays, returning January 10, 2022. 

FCC Policy

The FCC seeks comment on proposed changes to the competitive bidding process for the Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as E-Rate. One of the proposed changes is establishing a dedicated portal for vendors to upload their bids to provide services, rather than submitting their bids directly to the end user organizations. Comments are due 60 days after Federal Register publication, and reply comments are due 90 days after publication. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

Compliance Alerts

The FCC released a Notice of Inquiry seeking input on the future of the Universal Service Fund (USF), as required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Specifically, the Commission is evaluating the implications for the current USF system of the $65 billion in broadband funding provided by the IIJA. The FCC must submit a report of its findings to Congress discussing how the Commission can improve its effectiveness in achieving universal service goals for broadband. The Notice of Inquiry also seeks comment on potential rule or statutory changes that would update the USF contribution system. Comments are due January 18, 2022, with reply comments due January 31, 2022

The FCC announced that the USF contribution rate for the first quarter of 2022 will be 25.2%, unless the Commission adopts a different number by December 27, 2021.  

For more information on Universal Service Fund and other compliance issues, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

FTC Items

FTC Chair Lina Khan has sent a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chair of the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee, stating that the agency is considering opening a rulemaking “to address lax security practices, data privacy abuses, and algorithmic decision-making that may result in unlawful discrimination.” She explained that the rulemaking would proceed under the “effectively abandoned” Section 18 of the FTC Act, 47 U.S.C. § 57a, which authorizes “rules which define with specificity acts or practices which are unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” Chairperson Khan notes that the “digitization further hastened by the pandemic makes this a particularly urgent and opportune time” for the FTC to consider such action. For further information, please contact Stephanie Joyce

Note: This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor of this publication and/or any linked publication are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

Media Contact

Marlene Laro

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