After years of consideration, the Federal Communications Commission is going to update its Lifeline and Link Up programs for the 21st century. Chairman Julius Genachowski, in a speech January 9, announced his plan to significantly reform the program to include broadband-focused elements and to streamline the legacy voice service program to ensure that it performs efficiently.
The holidays must be over, cause there certainly was a lot going on in telecommunications policy this week. We’ve had our eye on a report exploring federal investment in information infrastructure, a proposal to use the Universal Service Fund to make broadband service more affordable for low-income families, the Supreme Court’s protect of the First Amendment, the introduction of new Internet domain names, and a raging debate on how to deal with foreign websites that steal U.S. copyright material.
As the Benton Foundation closes out our 30th year as an organization dedicated to the ideal of media and telecommunications serving the public interest and enhancing our democracy, here are some thoughts on our major activities during these past twelve months.
By Cecilia Garcia
Benton and our friends at the Alliance for Communications Democracy (ACD) wanted to get a feel for the state of public, educational and government (PEG) access across the nation. We wanted to see if PEG channels are realizing the promise and optimism expressed back in 1984 by the House Commerce Committee in a report that set forth the reason why these channels are so important.
After a review of the purported benefits and early analysis of the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T, the Benton Foundation urges the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to reject a deal that offers no public interest dividend.
First and foremost, the acquisition will combine the 2nd and 4th largest wireless carriers in the US. Undoubtedly, this combination will reduce competition in this market and will result in fewer choices for consumers, higher prices, and less innovation.
March 16 marks the one year anniversary of the release of the National Broadband Plan, a multi-year strategy for increasing broadband deployment, adoption and meaningful use throughout the country. Over the last year, the Benton Foundation has been tracking the implementation of the plan and its over 200 recommendations .
Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps was the only FCC commissioner to dissent from the order allowing Comcast and General Electric to enter into a complicated joint venture that will give Comcast control of NBC Universal. Here is his statement.
By Charles Benton
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama said our generation’s Sputnik moment is upon us. President Obama likened our recent economic setbacks to a key moment in October 1957 when Americans saw our scientific leadership in the world fall from first to second as a small beeping sphere sped through the night sky. I strongly agree. And I see broadband as a key element in our response to Sputnik 2.