Originally published: December 18, 2009
Last updated: December 18, 2009 - 2:50pm
On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 3288, which provides FY 2010 appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and other agencies.
The law restricts the Federal Communications Commission from changing its universal service rules regarding single connection or primary line restrictions. The FCC is directed to work with the Universal Service Administrative Company and the FCC Inspector General to re-evaluate auditing processes to ensure that audits are more uniform and not unduly onerous, that all auditors are familiar with the telecommunications industry, and that lessons learned from audits are translated into better performance in the future. A report on USF audit activity is required within two months.
The FCC is directed to work expeditiously to conduct a successful auction of the D Block spectrum so that first responders have an interoperable communications network. The FCC us urged to ensure that public, educational, and governmental (PEG) channels remain on the basic service tier of programming and to prevent cable service providers from impeding the public's access to PEG programming.
For the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the law requires a report to Congress by June 1, 2010 detailing the collection of reimbursements from other agencies related to spectrum management, analyses, and research. The law also requires the NTIA to work with the FCC the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the National Institute of Justice, to develop a plan to investigate and evaluate how wireless jamming, detection and other technologies might be utilized for law enforcement and corrections applications in Federal and State prison facilities. The the NTIA and the FCC are urged to investigate and evaluate detection or other technologies that do not pose a risk of negatively affecting commercial wireless and public safety services in areas surrounding prisons.
By mid-January, the NTIA and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting must issue a report to Congress clarifying the funding authorities of the two agencies for the Public Telecommunications Facilities, Planning and Construction program which has been the primary source for telecommunications infrastructure assistance for public radio and television stations seeking assistance, particularly in under-served rural areas.
Congress is concerned that some Federal agencies may not be improving controls over wireless networks as delineated in the Government Accountability Office's 2005 report (GAO-05-383). Therefore, the conferees direct GAO to update its report and include a review of Federal agencies and their wireless networks, including an assessment of vulnerabilities to attack and unauthorized penetration; an examination of best practices within Federal agencies for deploying and monitoring secure wireless networks; and an assessment of state-of-the-art technology solutions that could help protect these networks. GAO shall report its findings to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations within 120 days of enactment of this Act.
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