FCC’s Plan to Improve Connectivity in Underserved Areas through ISP Regulation

The FCC is monitoring internet providers to ensure equal broadband access for all Americans, regardless of factors such as income, race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin, as mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Commission has adopted a final set of rules that grant it the authority to investigate instances of “digital discrimination” and penalize violators. This could involve examining a provider’s pricing, network upgrades, and maintenance to determine if affluent areas receive better service than low-income areas. The FCC will consider technical and economic challenges that may affect a provider’s ability to offer equal access. The rules were approved in a 3-2 vote, with critics arguing that they could impact investments and penalize unintentional discrimination. However, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel believes the rules are reasonable and will consider valid reasons of technical and economic feasibility. In addition, the FCC has updated its protections against SIM swapping and port-out scams, requiring wireless providers to notify customers immediately of any change or request for their account and phone number. The FCC has also initiated a formal inquiry into the impact of artificial intelligence on robocalls, considering its potential to block unwanted messages or facilitate fraud.