NEWS ANALYSIS

Biden Vacancies Delay Big Tech Reckoning

President Biden still hasn’t named permanent leaders at the key agencies overseeing the tech and telecom industries, giving him a late start on confronting powerful U.S. companies. If Biden doesn’t move quickly, there won’t be enough time left for his administration to take on big targets and tackle thorny policy problems.

FCC, NTIA Team On Spectrum Research

The FCC has signed an agreement with the National Science Foundation and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the White House’s top communications adviser, to advance spectrum R&D. The move is a nod both to interagency multilateralism and the value of science, two things the previous administration was criticized for downplaying.

NTIA Wants FCC To Clamp Down On Social

As directed by President Trump, the Commerce Department has petitioned the FCC for regulations that could affect how social media companies treat posts by users. The petition, filed Monday by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, asks the FCC to issue rules tying web companies’ legal protections for users’ speech to the companies’ content moderation policies.

UPDATED, FRIDAY MORNING

Trump Wants FCC To Join Twitter Crackdown

The president today signed an executive order targeting Twitter and other social media. It comprises several directives, including one calling on the FCC to establish rules that would limit how far social media can go in tagging and censoring user content before risking the immunity they now have from libel and other civil actions arising from user content. Above, the president holds up a copy of the New York Post before signing the order.

UPDATED FRIDAY MORNING

Former FCC, NTIA Official Henry Geller Dies

The longtime force in telecommunications regulation and policy was involved in the banning of cigarette advertising on broadcasting, the regulation of cable and rules prohibiting broadcasters from discriminating in employment on the basis of race. He was 96.

Commerce Department Telecom Head Is Leaving

Diane Rinaldo, who is acting administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, emailed staff a “fond farewell” on Monday. Doug Kinkoph, Commerce Department acting deputy assistant secretary, will fill in for Rinaldo as acting administrator.

NTIA Names Spectrum Administrator

Charles Cooper has been named associate administrator of the Office of Spectrum Management at the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, where he will help develop the National Spectrum Strategy mandated by President Trump. Cooper, who comes aboard July 1, was most recently at the FCC, where he was involved in radio frequency enforcement.

NTIA Chief David Redl Resigns

National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief David Redl resigned abruptly from his position on Thursday, officials confirmed. Redl has been at the helm of the NTIA, the body tasked with advising the Trump administration’s telecom policy within the Department of Commerce, since November 2017.

Redl Confirmed As New Head Of NTIA

President Trump’s nominee to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, David Redl, was approved by the Senate with a voice vote. He most recently was the chief counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Last Nail In The PTFP Coffin?

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to repeal all of its regulations establishing and governing the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP). The PTFP was a competitive grant program that helped public broadcasting entities, state and local governments, Native American Tribes, and nonprofit organizations to construct public television and radio stations.

NTIA Seeks Comments On Cybersecurity Threats

Trump Picks David Redl To Head NTIA

The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump will nominate David Redl to be the next administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Redl currently is chief counsel at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and is the principal legal adviser to Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Republicans on the committee regarding communications and technology matters.

Consensus On Commercial UAS Best Practices

Budget: Find Federal Spectrum To Auction

Buried within the mammoth budget deal that the White House and the Republican-led House have agreed to are provisions that would require the FCC and Department of Commerce to identify 30 MHz of government-held spectrum to be auctioned for commercial wireless use.

House Bill Looks To Set Auction Framework

A draft of the “Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2015″ is currently circulating the House Communications Subcommittee in hopes of creating a framework for the FCC’s reclaimed wireless broadband spectrum auction. The proposed bill would ask the FCC to work with the NTIA on outlining rules and procedures for relocating federal spectrum for users, as well as band sharing for non-federal users. It would also ask the agencies to develop a timeline for bidding, but does not identify specific spectrum.

NTIA Schedules Drone Stakeholder Confabs

NTIA steps up effort to develop consensus as to best practices for drone use. The agency has scheduled a series of four meetings “of a multistakeholder process concerning privacy, transparency and accountability issues regarding commercial and private use” of drones.

STATION ADVISORY

Drones Are Now On The NTIA’s Radar

In addition to the FAA, a second federal agency is joining the move to regulate drones. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which of late has been focusing mainly on policies related to broadband, spectrum use and the Internet, has begun a multistakeholder process to address “best practices” for the commercial and private use of drones. The goal is to look at broader drone-related issues, such as privacy concerns, transparency and accountability.

FCC ‘Model City’ To Test Spectrum Sharing

Today, the FCC’s Office of Engineering & Technology and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a Joint Public Notice that seeks input on the establishment of a “Model City” program to test advanced wireless spectrum sharing technologies.

STATION ADVISORY

NTIA to LPTVs: ‘Last Call for Digital Grants’

On July 2, NTIA is set to close the door on applications for grants to reimburse the costs of digital conversion for low-power TV, Class A TV, TV translator and TV booster stations.

NTIA Wants To Start Spectrum Move In 2013

A new timetable says the FCC will need to identify the spectrum it’s reclaiming for wireless broadband by mid-2011 and start moving broadcasters to new locations by 2Q 2013.