O’Halleran Holds FCC Accountable During Hearing

September 17, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman O’Halleran (AZ-01) participated in a House Energy and Commerce hearing on holding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) accountable.

“Despite several recent successes to build out our broadband operations, and hard work by the FCC, the digital divide continues to hamper distance learning, access to telehealth services, and the ability to work remotely for far too many Americans,” said O’Halleran during the hearing. “We need to work together to create tangible change for struggling families during COVID-19, expand broadband service to the areas that have been overlooked, and ensure that our students have the connectivity they need to succeed in their studies this fall.”

Successes O’Halleran noted originated out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with his support. They include:

·      O’Halleran’s Broadband Data Act, which reforms the FCC’s coverage maps to identify rural and tribal communities still on the wrong side of the digital divide, which has been signed into law by President Trump;

·      The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which puts in place protections to limit the influence of Huawei and suspect equipment in our domestic networks; and

·      The Pallone-Thune Traced Act, which cracks down on pesky robocalls interrupting the daily lives of Americans everywhere.

During the hearing, O’Halleran also emphasized the need for broadband adoption programs nationwide so underserved students and families can have access to the affordable connected devices and technical skills necessary to achieve their potential, as outlined in his bipartisan Broadband Adoption and Opportunity Act.

Watch O’Halleran speak during the hearing, HERE.

This year, Rep. O’Halleran led Congressional efforts to extend the window by which tribal governments were able to apply for new 2.5 GHz spectrum licenses under the Rural Tribal Priority window; the deadline was pushed from August 3, 2020 to September 2, 2020.

This week, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced that of the over 400 applications received for 2.5 GHz spectrum licenses by tribal governments during the landmark Rural Tribal Priority window, the Commission was moving forward with a first group of applications—including those from several tribal governments in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District—to undergo public comment required under the Commission’s statutory requirements. The 2.5 GHz licenses available to tribal governments under the Rural Tribal Priority Window can be used to expand wireless broadband access and increase connectivity throughout Indian Country.