Updated: Jan 14
T-Band Auction Reversed and 9-1-1 Fee Diversion Report Ordered from FCC
December 27, 2020
President Trump signed H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 on December 27, 2020, which provides appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, and provides coronavirus emergency relief. The bill, among other things, integrates provisions from the ACCESS BROADBAND Act and the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act.
See the discussion starting on page 2855 for the T-Band Auction reversal and details of the 9-1-1 Fee Diversion Report ordered from FCC. Click Here for PDF of Bill
The “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act” was part (section 902) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, which was passed by the House and the Senate on 12/21/20. In addition to repealing the T-band auction requirement, the legislation includes a section aimed at reducing 911 fee diversion and requires the FCC to;
· No later than 180 days after the enactment of the bill, release final rules that identify purposes and functions for which 9-1-1 fees can be used by states. Those purposes and functions must be limited to the “support and implementation of 9-1-1 services provided by or in the state or taxing jurisdictions imposing the fee or charge and operational expenses of public-safety answering points (PSAPs) within such state of taxing jurisdictions.” The FCC must consult with public-safety organizations and states and taxing jurisdictions in determining the purposes and functions that 9-1-1 fees can be used for. Under the law, a state or taxing jurisdiction can submit a petition to the FCC asking for a determination of an expenditure not covered in the rules as an appropriate use of 9-1-1 fees.
· No later than 180 days after the enactment of the law, establish the Ending 9-1-1 Fee Diversion Now Strike Force...an interagency task force to help end 9-1-1 fee diversion. Membership in the task force should include state attorneys generals, state or taxing jurisdictions that are not diverting 9-1-1 fees, states or taxing jurisdictions trying to stop the diversion of 9-1-1 fees, state 9-1-1 administrators, public-safety organizations, groups representing the public and consumers, and groups representing PSAP professionals. The task force will be responsible for determining the effectiveness of federal laws, regulations, policies and practices in eliminating 9-1-1 diversion as quickly as possible. The strike force will also consider whether criminal penalties would prevent diversion of 9-1-1 fees
The bill also includes $374 million for the FCC’s FY 2021 budget, of which $33 million is reserved to improve the FCC’s broadband maps and $730 million for the expansion of broadband service to provide economic development opportunities and improved education and health care services, including $635 million for the ReConnect program. Additionally, the bill provides $6.9 billion for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans (division-by-division summary of appropriations).
For coronavirus emergency relief, the bill, among other things, provides $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection program and $7 billion for broadband-related programs such as: $1.9 billion for the FCC’s Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program; two NTIA grant programs, $1 billion to support broadband connectivity on tribal lands and $300 million for broadband deployment in rural areas; and $250 million to the FCC for its COVID-19 Telehealth program (division-by-division summary of COVID relief provisions).