Senators Unveil $10B Broadband Bill to Aid Underserved Areas
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC), and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a bill that would allocate $10 billion to a fund aimed at deploying broadband in areas that lack service.
The “Governors’ Broadband Development Fund” would provide each U.S. state with a minimum of $75 million; remaining money would be distributed based on state populations, according to a joint statement from the lawmakers.
The bill would require 30% of a state’s funding to be used in Opportunity Zones.
Funds could be spent on infrastructure development, providing free or reduced cost broadband service, community center improvements, and other applications
NOTE: About 21 million Americans lack access to the FCC standard for high-speed broadband, with 16 million living in rural areas, 5 million in urban areas, according to the statement.
From Senator Warner’s office
Lack of Cyber Testing Leaves Energy Grid Vulnerable
The ability of government and industry to perform regular, comprehensive cyber testing to protect the energy grid is limited by a complicated patchwork of oversight, witnesses told a Senate panel Wednesday, potentially leaving the U.S. exposed to an attack.
An Energy Department official, as well as power industry representatives, said jurisdiction over testing the strength of networks is constrained by the different players’ existing authorities and responsibilities.
“It’s not within our jurisdiction to try and red team, or hack into, their systems,” Thomas O’Brien, senior vice president and chief information officer of PJM Interconnection, told Senate Energy and Natural Resources lawmakers during a hearing, referring to the organization’s member companies. PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization that coordinates electricity for several states in the East, Midwest and South.
The senior adviser for the Energy Department’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response said much the same thing. The government does security testing, including red teaming, on federally-owned assets, like the four Power Marketing Administrations and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Alexander Gates said.
From Bloomberg reports
U.S. Lifts Advisory on International Travel
The State Department has lifted its global level 4 health advisory put in place on March 19 that had advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, it said today in an emailed statement. The State Department is returning to a system of country-specific levels of advisories, saying that conditions are “improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others.”
Back to Basics on Cleaning Aircraft
TSouthwest Airlines is throttling back on its passenger cabin cleaning procedures instituted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The changes -- such as no longer sanitizing seat belts between flights -- will reduce the time aircraft spend on the ground between flights, the airline told flight attendants in a memo obtained by CNN. Deep overnight cleanings will continue.
"As our flight schedule evolves, we are returning to standard turnaround time," says the memo.