Last Call for 12.28.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

More Floridians will soon have access to broadband internet.

The Federal Communications Commission has awarded $191 million to Florida internet providers to expand their infrastructure to pockets of rural Florida.

The award was announced Monday by Florida Internet & Television, a trade association representing many of the state’s largest internet providers.

“Florida’s cable providers are dedicated to increasing internet accessibility, especially during this time when many are working from home, running their business and attending school online,” said FIT President and CEO Brad Swanson.

The funding was awarded through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), a program established in January to expand high-speed, low-latency broadband networks into unserved rural areas.

Through RDOF, the FCC will direct up to $20.4 billion over 10 years to finance broadband internet expansions.

The first phase targets census blocks where there are no providers offering connections faster than 25 megabits per second, which equates to about 3.125 megabytes a second — speedy enough to watch high definition video on Netflix or YouTube.

FCC will distribute $16 billion nationwide during Phase One.

In Phase Two, RDOF will target areas where only some residents can get 25 Mbps connections. There is not yet an estimated start date for Phase Two.

FIT said federal money augments the already substantial investments made by Florida ISPs in recent years. The trade association said providers spent more than $9 billion on broadband infrastructure in the past decade.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 1,258,315 FL residents (+8,040 since Sunday)

— 21,862 Non-FL residents (+158 since Sunday)

Origin:

— 10,838 Travel related

— 480,080 Contact with a confirmed case

— 13,676 Both

— 753,721 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 61,663 in FL

Deaths:

— 21,613 in FL

Evening Reads

Treasury attempts to begin sending stimulus checks by end of the week, rushing after Donald Trump’s delay” via Tony Romm and Rachel Siegel of The Washington Post

In the twilight of the Trumps, how much of America remains?” via Diane Roberts of the Florida Phoenix

House set to vote on Trump’s $2,000 checks as GOP balks” via Lisa Mascaro and Jill Colvin of The Associated Press

The year that changed the internet” via Evelyn Douek of The Atlantic

Small number of COVID patients develop severe psychotic symptoms” via Pam Belluck of The New York Times

A divided nation asks: What’s holding our country together?” via Tamara Lush, Josh Boak, Nicholas Riccardi and Claire Galofaro of The Associated Press

Florida adds 8,198 new coronavirus cases, 99 fatalities” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Florida Democrats blame computer struggles for reporting failure” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Government ethics, school bus safety focus of news laws” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida

Expert warns of ‘tsunami’ of hotel foreclosures and sales in Orlando, nationwide” via Trevor Fraser of the Orlando Sentinel

Feds say dismissed Corrine Brown juror relied on Holy Spirit, not trial evidence” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida

Ashley Moody warns of fraud, scammers chasing COVID-19 stimulus payments” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Airlines aren’t making it easy to use COVID credits” via Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal

One Good Thing: Highlights of nine months in tales of kindness” via The Associated Press

Florida’s ‘Grim Reaper’ donates costume to Miami museum” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“I share many of my colleagues’ concerns about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working-class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief. Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000.” — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, backing President Donald Trump‘s call for higher stimulus payments.

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