Congress Passes Appropriations and COVID-19 Relief Bills Providing Funding for Various FCC Programs

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Congress has passed both an omnibus annual appropriations bill as well as a COVID-19 relief package that will fund numerous communications programs.  For instance, the bills provide $65 million to implement the Broadband DATA Act, which will aid the FCC in creating more accurate broadband coverage maps.  In addition, the bills appropriated $1.9 billion to fund the Secure Networks Act’s reimbursement program, which will fund small carrier efforts to replace and remove unsecure equipment from their networks.  An amendment to the Secure Networks Act is also included in the legislation that would expand reimbursement eligibility to providers of advanced communications service with 10 million or fewer customers from the original limitation of 2 million or fewer customers. The bills also provide: (1) $285 million for a Pilot Program to award grants to minority-serving institutions and certain businesses and non-profit organizations in the community to support connectivity; (2) $250 million for the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program; (3) $1.3 billion for the establishment of two grant programs to expand broadband connectivity.

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