Connect Americans Now (CAN): Questions for the Confirmation Hearing of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Rosenworcel
Hearing Provides Lawmakers and Nominee a Key
Opportunity to Discuss Urgent Solutions to Permanently Bridge the Digital
November 17, 2021
Contact: Jon Conradi
Washington, D.C. – Today, Wednesday, November 17, the U.S. Senate
Commerce Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Acting Chairwoman
Jessica Rosenworcel to serve as Permanent Chairwoman of the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC). Connect Americans Now (CAN) executive director
Richard T. Cullen released the following statement ahead of the confirmation
“The Federal Communications
Commission plays a critical role in expanding access to affordable, reliable
broadband and supporting greater digital equity,” Cullen said. “CAN commends
Chairwoman Rosenworcel for her demonstrated commitment to closing the broadband
gap and record of leadership on improving digital equity.”
“We encourage Chairwoman
Rosenworcel and lawmakers to capitalize on this confirmation hearing as an
opportunity to discuss ways Congress and the FCC can work together to implement
solutions to help permanently bridge the digital divide in America,” Cullen
continued. “The FCC must play a lead role in the successful implementation of
programs to support broadband adoption in underserved communities, deploy
broadband in unserved areas and fix the nation’s tracking of progress against
the digital divide through accurate maps.”
Key questions for Acting
Chairwoman Rosenworcel include:
- The FCC plays a critical leadership role in the
implementation of solutions to close the broadband gap in the United States. If
confirmed, how will you approach the vital national mission of permanently
eliminating the digital divide as Permanent Chairwoman and what principles
would guide your approach to the programs and tools available at the FCC that
can expand broadband deployment, adoption and skills trainings?
- As many as 17 million American
students, nearly one-third of all public school students, live in a household
without the broadband service, a device, or both, needed to complete schoolwork
or homework requiring an internet connection.
- You’ve been a
leader on highlighting the urgency to close the homework gap. If confirmed,
what can the FCC do to help ensure students in every community have access to
the connectivity and devices needed to succeed in the 21st century classroom?
- More than 75 percent of
Americans say they would like to use telehealth services in the future, but
Americans without broadband access are being left behind without access to
these tools that can increase access to care, improve health care outcomes and
enhance quality of life.
- Among other initiatives, the FCC has implemented the COVID-19 Telehealth Program that provides $200 million in funding to help providers
reach more patients in their homes. What more can Congress and the FCC do to
ensure all Americans — specifically those in underserved communities — can
access telehealth tools?
- During your time as Acting Chairwoman, Congress authorized,
and the FCC implemented the Emergency Broadband Benefit Fund which has helped
more than six million households afford broadband service during the
- Do you agree the
demand for this program demonstrates the vital need for adoption programs to
ensure Americans can afford broadband service and digital devices in every
- This program was permanently
authorized in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by
President Biden this week. Can you discuss how the FCC will implement this
permanent program and what learnings from the emergency authorization will be
applied to help the greatest number of Americans get connected?
- The FCC continues to work on more accurate and comprehensive
broadband mapping, authorized by Congress through the bipartisan Broadband DATA
Act, to better track the nation’s progress against the digital divide.
- Do you agree accurate
mapping of the digital divide is vitally important to achieve a national goal
of ensuring Americans in every community have access to the broadband service
and digital technology needed to succeed in the 21st century economy
- What is the
current status of the FCC’s implementation of broadband mapping solutions that
will provide a better measurement of the scale of the challenge and better
guide public and private investments to improve connectivity? What challenges
exist and is there more Congress can do to support successful development of
Founded in 2017, Connect
Americans Now (CAN) is a broad-based coalition of more than 300 companies and
organizations representing leading voices in agriculture, education, health
care, veterans’ issues, technology and small business — committed to urgent action
to completely eliminate the digital divide in every American community.
Read CAN’s statement on
Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s nomination by President Biden to serve as
Permanent Chairwoman of the FCC HERE.
Learn more about Connect
Americans Now and solutions to permanently bridge the digital divide HERE.