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Broadband: FCC Publishes Proposed Rule Establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund; Seeks Comments by September 20

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a proposed rule which would establish the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund . In the document, the Commission proposes to build on the success of the CAF Phase II auction by establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will commit at least $20.4 billion over the next decade to support high-speed broadband networks in rural America.

The FCC invites comments “on its overall approach,” setting a deadline of September 20 (reply comments are due by October 21).

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Broadband: FCC Publishes Final Rule and Proposed Rulemaking on the Digital Opportunity Data Collection

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, which requires all fixed broadband providers to submit granular maps of the areas where they have broadband-capable networks and make service available. To complement this granular broadband availability data, the Report and Order published in the August 22 FEDERAL REGISTER also adopts a process to begin collecting public input, sometimes known as “crowdsourcing,” on the accuracy of fixed providers' broadband deployment data. In addition, the Report and Order leaves in place for now the existing Form 477 data collection, but makes targeted changes to reduce reporting burdens for all providers by removing and clarifying certain requirements and modifying the collection.

The Rule and Order is effective on September 23, 2019, except for paragraphs 44 through 51 and 57 through 65 of the Report and Order and the addition of 47 CFR 54.1401 and 54.1402(b) and (c), (d)(2), and (e), which are delayed. The Commission will publish a document in the FEDERAL REGISTER announcing the delayed effective date.

In a separate August 22 FEDERAL REGISTER document , the Federal Communications Commission) adopts a Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second FNPRM). This document seeks comment on certain aspects of the Digital Opportunity Data Collection to enhance its accuracy and usefulness. The Second FNPRM seeks comment on ways to develop location-specific data that could be used in conjunction with the polygon-based data in the new collection to precisely identify the homes and small businesses that have and do not have access to broadband services.

With respect to mobile wireless coverage, the Second FNPRM seeks comment on how to align the Digital Opportunity Data Collection with changes in mobile broadband deployment technology, markets, and policy needs. The Second FNPRM also seeks comment on how to improve satellite broadband deployment data given the unique characteristics of satellites.

For the Second FNPRM comments are due on or before September 23, 2019, and reply comments are due on or before October 7, 2019. Written comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements must be submitted by the public, OMB, and other interested parties on or before October 21, 2019.

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NGA Selects 6 States to Upskill Adult Learners through the Educate for Opportunity Project

August 19 -- The National Governors Association (NGA) in partnership with Strada Education Network began its newest effort to help states design education and training programs to increase upward mobility of residents by selecting six states for its Educate for Opportunity project.

Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Wyoming will receive financial as well as policy and technical assistance from NGA and Strada over the next 18 months as part of a $2.3 million grant from Strada. The states will build data-driven approaches to connect residents to jobs in growing industries, strengthening local economies and helping people embark on meaningful careers that allow them to support themselves and their families.

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