News from the ITA

February 22, 2021



2021 ITA Annual Convention Will be an Online Virtual Event

Based on survey responses from members and the lack of vaccines available to the general public at this time, the decision has been made to host the ITA annual convention online. Stay tuned for more information on the virtual event, agenda and registration information. Although we are excited to host an in-person event, we have to put the health and safety of our members first. 

Broadband Advisory Council Quarterly Meeting

The Illinois Broadband Advisory Council held its regular quarterly meeting Wednesday, February 17th. BAC Chair and Director of the Office of Broadband, Matt Schmit, provided an update on the Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program and reminded interested providers the application deadline had been extended to April 12th. Schmit also provided updates on the state's broadband equity programs, including the state partnership with PCs for People to refurbish donated computers and make them available to low-income households lacking connected devices. He also provided a summary of federal broadband support to Illinois and discussed the possibility of re-establishing working groups to address issues related to broadband access, economic development, education, technology and telehealth.

Members of the BAC were provided a presentation on telehealth from the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, information on remote learning and the virtual course catalog from the Illinois State Board of Education and a presentation about racial disparity among adults 50 plus years age with regard to economic security, healthcare and connectivity by the AARP.

Meeting materials and presentation slides can be found on the Connect Illinois website.

 Federal News & Programs

USAC Hosting Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Webinars for Interested Service Providers

USAC will host an introductory webinar providing an overview of Lifeline and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program for service providers interested in participating in the EBBP. The webinar will include a review of USAC systems used to check eligibility, enroll consumers and claim reimbursement, as USAC prepares to make those systems available for the new program.

The EBBP will provide a monthly discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service and a one-time device discount of up to $100 for eligible consumers. Consumers can use the device discount to purchase laptops, desktops, or tablets from participating providers if they also contribute $10-$50 toward the price of the device. 

Register for the webinar below:

Webinar Registration:

USAC will update this web page as additional information is available and additional trainings are scheduled. To stay up to date on the EBBP, sign up for the EBBP email list.

FCC Announces RDOF Long-Form Applicants (NECA Washington Watch)

The Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force, Wireline Competition Bureau, and Office of Economics and Analytics issued a public notice on Feb. 18, 2021, identifying 417 applicants in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction that submitted the long-form application portion of the FCC Form 683. A spreadsheet, available at Auction 904, identifies long-form applicants and number of census blocks and locations, as well as support amounts, by state, associated with each applicant.

FCC Hears Presentations on EBB, Telehealth, Mapping, Adopts Items at February Open Meeting (NECA Washington Watch)

At the Feb. 17, 2021 Open Meeting, the FCC heard presentations on the status of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, the COVID-19 Telehealth program and the work to improve its broadband maps. The FCC also adopted an NPRM (news release) addressing the diversion of 911 fees by states and other jurisdictions for purposes unrelated to 911, and a third FNPRM to modify FCC rules consistent with changes made to the Secure Networks Act.

Rosenworcel Establishes Broadband Data Task Force (NECA Washington Watch)

Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel announced the establishment of a Broadband Data task force at the Feb. 17, 2021 Open Meeting, which is dedicated to implementing improvements to the FCC’s broadband data and mapping tools. Rosenworcel named Jean Kiddoo as chair of the task force and announced other senior staff. The task force will coordinate the Commission’s broadband mapping and data collection efforts across the various expert agency teams, including the Office of Economics and Analytics, Wireline Competition Bureau, and other offices and bureaus.

ITA Member News

If you have news you would like to share with other ITA members, feel free to send the information to Nina or Randy and we will post the information on our website under the member news section of our Member Center webpage.

Employment Opportunity - Network Engineer - Shawnee Communications

Shawnee's Network Engineer will design, update, and monitor data networking systems and equipment. They will review network traffic, usage and capacity to assess future network requirements. They make recommendations regarding new system technologies and upgrades.

Employment Opportunity - Account Relations Position - Central Scott Telephone

Central Scott Telephone/CS Technologies is looking to hire an experienced Account Relations team member.

 Broadband & Telecom Headlines

FCC releases more details on RDOF auction applicants (FierceTelecom)

Parks: 24% of broadband subscribers likely to upgrade service within six months (telecompetitor)

Pandemic puts money, political muscle behind broadband (Axios)

Suspected Russian hack fuels new US action on cybersecurity (AP) 

Roku beats Q4 earnings estimates with record revenue, swings to quarterly profit (Variety)

Illinois Telecommunications Association

312 S. 4th Street, Suite 100

           Springfield, IL 62701             

 (217) 572-1262