The FCC this week released a Public Notice seeking comment on the potential impacts of a continuing global shortage of semiconductor chips on the U.S. communications industry and on FCC initiatives.
Specific questions on which the FCC seeks input include the extent to which the shortage has spread to the communications sector, and any impacts on lead times and costs of equipment and devices; the nature and extent of any shortages; what factors are impacting supply; impacts on the communications sector, including on consumers, enterprise system users, private network operators (such as critical infrastructure), and service providers; impacts on the public interest, and on remote learning, telehealth, and other services that have moved online during the pandemic; potential impacts of the failure to sustain reliable access to semiconductors for the communications sector, including the impact on key vertical markets; and what steps the FCC can take to help address challenges posed by the shortage.
The Public Notice observes that the current shortage has been attributed to pandemic-related slowdowns in production, spikes in demand, temporary closure of manufacturing facilities, and other factors. On January 1, 2021, Congress passed the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act (CHIPS Act), which establishes incentives to promote and support investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and development, and supply chain security. On February 24, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order directing the Secretary of Commerce to identify risks in the semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging supply chains, and directing the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security to produce a report on supply chains for critical sectors and subsectors of the information and communications technology industrial base.
Comments are due June 10, 2021 and reply comments are due June 25, 2021.