Press Release Archives

Benton Welcomes Step to Make Broadband More Affordable

On May 28, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking aimed at modernizing the FCC’s Lifeline program which makes telecommunications services more affordable for low-income families. The following statement may be attributed to Amina Fazlullah, the Benton Foundation’s Director of Policy:

The FCC’s January 2012 reforms of its Lifeline program have saved U.S. ratepayers billions, strengthening oversight and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. With these reforms now implemented, the Benton Foundation welcomes today’s action by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to take the next step and modernize Lifeline to reflect the reality of 2015: home broadband service is no longer a luxury, but an essential service for education, public health, public safety, jobs and the economy. In 1996, Congress decided that “universal service” should be an evolving level of telecommunications services. Broadband services to the home are widely deployed and subscribed to by households that can afford them. Now is the time for the FCC to begin support for families that are not able to afford broadband.

In addition to Chairman Wheeler, FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel have articulated the need to modernize the Lifeline program. Benton thanks them for their efforts.

Benton Foundation Statement on Low-Income Broadband Pilot Program Staff Report

On May 22, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission released initial findings from its Low Income Broadband Pilot Program. The following may be attributed to Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah:

The Benton Foundation welcomes the FCC’s broadband adoption findings. Not surprisingly, the research confirms previous findings: choice matters, price matters, digital literacy matters, and relevant content and services matter. Tackling broadband adoption for our most vulnerable communities is a huge challenge. The Low Income Broadband Pilot Program should help fuel a discussion that’s long overdue: how do we modernize the Lifeline program, designed to bring 19th century technology into every home, so that it makes more affordable the broadband tools we all know are essential for full participation in the 21st century.

Benton Foundation Statement on Nomination of FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel

On May 20, 2015, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Jessica Rosenworcel for a second term as commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. The following may be attributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss:

The Federal Communications Commission is playing a crucial role in shaping our digital future. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel understands quickly-evolving technologies and has the vision to see how these changes will impact the traditional, American values of access, equity and diversity. In her time at the FCC, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has been a vocal advocate for harnessing telecommunications to build stronger schools, improve city services, and unleash more Americans' creative potential. This is critical to U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. Commissioner Rosenworcel has also ensured our telecommunications policies honor public safety, universal access, competition and consumer protection. The Benton Foundation looks forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Rosenworcel on many issues and especially on the “the homework gap” in which households without broadband struggle to get their children the connectivity they need to do basic schoolwork.

Benton Foundation Statement on Comcast-Time Warner Cable

Press reports indicate that Comcast will abandon its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable. The following statement may be attributed to Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah:

Today’s announcement is a major victory for consumers and the future of communications in the U.S. With high-capacity broadband growing in importance each day, more and more consumers are realizing that putting 50 percent of the broadband market into Comcast’s control would result in too much power in the hands of one company. Hopefully, moving forward, Comcast and Time Warner will take the path of competition over consolidation and consumers will benefit with more choices, better services, lower prices, and increased innovation.

Benton commends the expert work of the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission staffs who were charged with taking a fact-based look and ensuring the deal would support the public interest.

Benton: Wheeler's Strong Net Neutrality Rules Will Protect Consumers

On February 4, 2015, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote an op-ed for Wired in which he outlined new Open Internet rules he is circulating to his fellow FCC commissioners. The following statement can be attributed to Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah:

After months of public debate, the Federal Communications Commission seems poised to adopt rules that will ensure that consumers retain their rights to utilize any legal applications, content, devices, and services of their choosing on the broadband networks they use. This will be a huge victory for Internet users for years to come. The Internet is one of the great engines of democratic and economic activity in human history – and the FCC’s proposed openness rules will help ensure that it remains a platform for all users, content creators, and innovators, regardless of their ability to pay infrastructure owners for access.

The Benton Foundation salutes the leadership of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The process to adopt what promises to be the strongest network neutrality ever has been transparent and welcomed the voices of the American public in record numbers. Chairman Wheeler's actions reflect his commitment to an Internet that is fast, fair and open.

Benton looks forward to reviewing the actual language of the new rules, but today’s announcement makes us hopeful that the Internet will remain the greatest platform ever for expression and innovation.

Benton Happy with FCC Direction on Community Broadband

On February 2, the Washington Post reported that the Federal Communications Commission will begin consideration of a proposal to intervene against state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that limit Internet access operated and sold by cities. The following statement can be attributed to Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah:

“The Benton Foundation is gladdened by news that the Federal Communications Commission will restore local choice for broadband. In too many states, limitations on community broadband have restricted local efforts to create jobs, raise property values, and provide other economic benefits. When community leaders believe they must act to improve local broadband networks, they should have the power to craft local solutions – even if that means a community providing its own broadband if it decides that is its best option. Benton applauds the leadership of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who, on numerous occasions over the past year, has recognized and acted upon the importance of competition in the broadband marketplace.”

Benton Welcomes FCC's New Definition of Broadband

On January 29, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt a new definition of “broadband” as speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. The following statement may be attributed to Amina Fazlullah, Director of Policy of the Benton Foundation:

The Benton Foundation welcomes the Federal Communications Commission’s updated definition of broadband. In 2010, the FCC’s National Broadband Plan adopted as its first goal that at least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2020. And the FCC said, as a milestone, by 2015, 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of 50 Mbps and actual upload speeds of 20 Mbps. Today's action keeps our sites on these laudable goals as well as the ultimate aim to become a Gigabit Nation.

Benton Supports President Obama's Call for More Internet Options for Consumers

In response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, Charles Benton, chairman of the Benton Foundation, made the following statement:

I am gladdened to hear the President’s recognition of broadband’s crucial role in our recovering economy. I am especially excited to hear a commitment to encouraging, creating and protecting competition in the broadband marketplace. And, in areas where we cannot expect competition to exist, the President is right to embrace a role for government for promoting broadband deployment. Like the President, the Benton Foundation stands on the side of competition, on the side of small business owners, on the side of students and schools, and on the side of choice for communities. If community leaders believe they must act to improve local broadband networks, they should be allowed to craft local solutions – even if that means a community providing its own broadband if it decides that is its best option.