Today: US Senate Gigabit Opportunity Act, FCC O’Rielly Remarks on TCPA
US Senate Gigabit Opportunity Act Introduced
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Gigabit Opportunity Act, designed to accelerate the development of high speed Internet in low-income and rural communities.
The Act expands broadband deployment by:
- Targeting investments to areas poised for growth: The Act directs investments to low-income and rural communities with the greatest potential for economic development by providing tax deferral and immediate expensing for companies investing in gigabit-capable broadband expansion.
- Streamlining patchwork regulations: The Act directs the FCC to release a framework that encourages states, counties and cities to voluntarily adopt streamlined broadband laws and be designated as a “Gigabit Opportunity Zone.”
- Eliminating barriers to investment: The Act temporarily defers capital gains for broadband investments and upgrades, and allows companies to immediately expense the cost of gigabit-capable equipment in “Gigabit Opportunity Zones.” The Act also allows states to issue tax-exempt bonds without a low-income geographic requirement.
“Introduced today by Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act is an important step toward closing the digital divide, and one that has my full support. Next-generation networks are increasingly critical to economic opportunity, job creation, and civic engagement. But too many parts of rural and urban America can’t attract the investment needed to deploy those networks. With targeted tax incentives and regulatory streamlining, the GO Act aims to remove the major barriers holding back Internet access in economically challenged areas.”
FCC O’Rielly Remarks on the Telephone Consumer Protections Act (TCPA)
In a speech before the ACA International’s Washington Insights Conference, Commissioner O’Rielly outlined his thoughts on how the FCC should revise its TCPA rules. He made several points including:
- Legitimate businesses should be able to make informational and telemarketing calls;
- Valid callers should be able to operate in an efficient manner; and
- The FCC should focus on actual harms and real bad actors
Among other things, he noted that the “TCPA was intended to protect consumers from illegal robocalls and abusive calling practices. This notwithstanding, it is increasingly common to hear all automated calls lumped together and branded as harmful or a nuisance. I know from personal experience that is not the case, and the Commission too has recognized this by carving out particular types of automated calls or texts for special treatment.” He also said that: “In addition to providing sensible relief for informational calls, the Commission should not discriminate against valid telemarketing calls or texts. We must embrace this simple truism: Advertising is an essential component of our economy, enabling companies to get their products and services into the hands of receptive consumers. The fact that a company may want to try to sell you something that you would actually enjoy purchasing is not the high crime or misdemeanor that the prior Commission made it out to be. “
The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Briefing.