WordSouth Offers Guidance to FCC in Promoting its Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund

January 25, 2021By Stephen V. Smith

WordSouth — A Content Marketing Company has filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission offering guidance on promoting public awareness of its upcoming Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund.

Earlier this month, the FCC issued a request for comments regarding the broadband initiative, which was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, passed and signed into law in December. The FCC is charged with quickly establishing a program to administer $3.2 billion in broadband support for eligible households.

WordSouth’s submission provides recommendations to the FCC for how to coordinate the public awareness portion of the program. “Through our work with scores of incumbent broadband providers and electric cooperatives moving into the broadband business, we see firsthand the challenges so many of them face when it comes to communicating with their customers and members,” says WordSouth’s Stephen V. Smith, author of the FCC filing. “A comprehensive, well-coordinated approach is vital for this enormous and fast-moving program to reach those who need help the most.”

Smith, WordSouth founder, now serves as VP of Broadband Strategies following the company’s acquisition in June by Pioneer Utility Resources, an Oregon-based communications cooperative.

The FCC program will offer eligible households a monthly discount of up to $50 off standard broadband rates (up to $75 on Tribal lands). It also offers broadband providers a reimbursement of up to $100 if they supply eligible households with a connected device.

“This program has the potential to help millions of Americans connect or remain connected to broadband service at a time when such connectivity is critically important for work, school, health and business,” says Smith. “The success of the program is dependent on many things, but we believe it ultimately hinges on the public’s awareness of its availability and benefits. That’s why we felt it was important to submit our ideas to the FCC.”

The appropriations act directs the FCC to provide a 20-day public comment period followed by a 20-day public reply comment period before establishing the program’s rules.