FCC, Congress Working on Freeing Up Device Dollars

FCC needs authority to fund telemedicine, distance learning tech
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FCC chairman Ajit Pai has been working with Congress on ways to use government subsidy money for in-home devices by teachers, students and patients. 

The FCC is trying to subsidize distance learning and telemedicine tech during the coronavirus crisis, but is not authorized to do so. 

A spokesperson for the chairman elaborated on his statement Wednesday that he has been working with Congress to free up the money as well as on a telemedicine initiative. 

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"The Chairman and FCC staff have been in conversations with Congressional leaders and staff since last week to obtain funding for in-home devices for use by teachers, students, and patients, which the Communications Act does not authorize the FCC to subsidize," said FCC spokesperson Brian Hart.

"The telemedicine pilot program would be a quickly deployed and significantly expanded program along the lines of our Connected Care rulemaking," he said. "And the remote learning pilot program would provide remote learning capabilities outside the classroom, which is an important step given that schools are shuttering for weeks and perhaps months." 

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