Government Relations Update June 2023

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By Matthew Hall Internet2 External Relations Program Manager

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

NTIA Unveils BEAD Funding Allocations

On June 26, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the amount of funding each state and territory would receive under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in 2021.  Each state will receive funding from a total pool of $42.5 billion proportional to their population as well as their determined need based on data compiled on the number of individuals, businesses, and institutions unserved and underserved by broadband in that jurisdiction.  States can file applications with NTIA explaining their plan for implementing grants to distribute their allocation beginning on July 1.  Once approved by NTIA, states will be permitted to request access to at least 20 percent of their allocation.  At that point, grants can begin flowing to support projects in the state, whether they be broadband deployments, programs facilitating broadband adoption, or workforce development and training initiatives.  The deadline for states to file applications to receive their allocations is December 27.

FCC Announces Routing Security Workshop

On June 16, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it will host a public workshop on Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Security on July 31.  The workshop is intended to continue to build the FCC’s public record on secure internet routing initiated by its February 2022 Notice of Inquiry (NOI) and is an opportunity for concerned parties to engage with the FCC to learn about the Commission’s current plans and views as well as to share input for the government to consider as it deliberates on next steps.  The FCC aims to use this event to both highlight the importance of addressing routing security risks and explore potential best practices for mitigation of these vulnerabilities through presentations and discussions with a variety of stakeholders.  There will be opportunities for workshop participants to engage directly with presenters.  This event will be held both online and in person, and advanced registration is required for prospective participants.  The exact agenda and structure of the event is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

FCC Launches Privacy and Data Protection Task Force

On June 14, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the creation of a new working group at the agency consisting of participants from almost every office and bureau at the FCC and led by Loyaan A. Egal, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau.  This new Privacy and Data Protection Task Force will be focused on the coordination of rulemaking, enforcement, and public awareness needs in the privacy and data protection sectors.  The work of the task force will also be applied to challenges surrounding data breaches and the supply-chain vulnerabilities of the third-party vendors serving regulated communications providers.  The establishment of this working group marks the beginning of an effort by the FCC to address these increasingly potent challenges in a more comprehensive manner to provide improved guidance for networks and providers and enhanced protections for the public.  Now that the task force has officially held its first meeting, it will be getting to work with more announcements sure to come in the months ahead.

Bipartisan AI Commission Legislation Introduced

On June 20, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress led by Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA-36), Ken Buck (R-CO-04), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA-16) introduced the National AI Commission Act (H.R. 4223).  This legislation would create a blue-ribbon commission to review the current approach to AI regulation in the United States, make recommendations on necessary changes to governmental structure for improved oversight and regulatory activities related to AI, and develop a risk-based framework for AI.  While the work of the commission itself would not produce binding action, it would create an important roadmap for the federal government to follow in the years ahead as it establishes a more comprehensive regulatory environment for the research, development, and usage of AI and its applications. 

The commission would be drawn from experts across civil society, government, industry and labor, and technical fields.  A total of 20 commissioners, 10 appointed by each political party, would work together to produce three reports for Congress and the president.  The first, an interim report, would be released at the six-month mark and would include proposals for any urgent regulatory or enforcement actions.  The second, a final report, would come at the one-year mark and would include findings and recommendations for a comprehensive and binding regulatory framework.  Finally, a year after the final report the commission would submit a follow-up report including any new findings or revised recommendations to make necessary adjustments to the final report’s proposed framework.

This bill has been referred to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee for consideration.  A companion bill is expected to be introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) to allow for consideration of these ideas by the Senate on a parallel track to the House deliberations.