Benton Foundation

The Killer App for Local Fiber Networks

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

In short, economic development and job creation can fairly be called the “killer app” for local fiber networks. Many projects across the country use advanced communications capabilities to support economic development and at the same time use the benefits of economic development to fund their network and make them sustainable. Over time, the path from broadband investments to economic development should be faster, more efficient and less costly to navigate.

Public Knowledge, 16 Privacy Advocates Urge FCC to Protect Consumers

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Public Knowledge filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission highlighting privacy concerns raised by the “Roadmap for Improving E911 Location Accuracy” proposed by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, the National Emergency Number Association, AT&T Mobility, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon.

Public Knowledge to FCC: A Million Comments Later, the Need for Reclassification is Clear

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Public Knowledge filed reply comments in the network neutrality proceeding on behalf of ourselves and Benton Foundation.

Public Knowledge, Privacy Groups Urge Obama Administration To Preserve Existing Telecommunications

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
3

Public Knowledge filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration urging the Obama Administration not to support any privacy legislation that would eliminate important legal protections for telecommunications metadata.

FCC Sec. 706 NOI Draws Advocacy Group Praise

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Federal Communications Commission's signal in a Notice of Inquiry that its latest Sec. 706 report could start factoring in usage limits and latency and other network management issues as it considers what is reasonable and timely deployment of advanced communications and just what speed and level of access qualifies as "advanced" drew applause from public interest groups.

OTI and Benton Foundation Argue for Strong Open Internet Protections Under Title II Authority

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Over the past few months, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received over a million net neutrality comments—a reflection of the broad and vocal interest around the country in the debate over the best path forward for strong open Internet protections. Yesterday, New America’s Open Technology Institute added our voice to the conversation, filing joint comments with the Benton Foundation in the Open Internet docket. We urge the FCC to craft strong new rules that protect users against the full scope of harms on all platforms, arguing that reclassifying broadband as a Title II telecommunications service is the clearest and most legally sound way to achieve this important goal.

Officially Explaining the Importance of an Open Internet

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Public Knowledge, along with our allies Access Sonoma Broadband and Benton Foundation, submitted comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet proceeding (that’s the network neutrality proceeding).

Charles Benton Nominated for National Museum and Library Services Board

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

President Barack Obama signaled his intent to nominate Charles Benton for another term as member of the National Museum and Library Services Board.

Public Interest Spectrum Coalition Sends Letter to Support Competition in Incentive Auction

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Public interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC) submitted a letter supporting the Federal Communications Commission's plan to ensure that competitive carriers can bid on spectrum in the upcoming Incentive Auction.

Consumer Advocates Ask the FCC to Protect the Network Compact

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Public Knowledge, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), and ten other public interest groups (including the Benton Foundation) and state consumer advocates asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate reports indicating carriers are forcing customers off of traditional copper-based phone service. In their letter, the groups list examples of complaints from California, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and DC, where customers say they have been told their copper lines will not be repaired and have been pressured to move onto fiber-based or wireless service without notice of the differences between those products and the traditional copper-based service they have relied on.

Schools Could Be on Internet 'Slow Track' Under Proposed FCC Rules

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

Questions arose about whether schools will have to stand in line for acceptable speeds of Internet access under proposed new rules floated by the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

benton logo

The Public Interest Communications Law Project and the Benton Senior Counselor

Location:
Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
4

The Benton Foundation and Georgetown Law are establishing the Public Interest Communications Law Project, under which Andrew Jay Schwartzman will serve as the Benton Senior Counselor at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation (IPR).

FCC Adopts Order on Reconsideration Regarding The Tribune Company

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance, and Charles Benton (yes, that Charles Benton) asked the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider its decision granting the applications to transfer control of Tribune Company and its licensee subsidiaries from its former shareholders to Sam Zell, The Tribune Employee Stock Ownership Plan as implemented through the Tribune Employee Stock Ownership Trust, and EGI-TRB, LLC. In that decision, the FCC also granted the broadcast license renewal applications filed by Tribune for four of its stations. The FCC has denied the petition for reconsideration.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Innovation

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

High-quality networks across the country will ensure that people in all communities have the ability to create, invent, and use products and services that can enhance our world. Broad access to high speed IP networks is essential to making sure technology continues to evolve. Just as important, however, is ensuring that a regulatory regime is in place that allows development of the next big thing to continue unabated.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Speed

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

In replacing the public switched telephone network (PSTN), consumers need truly high speed networks with low-latency and jitter so that these networks are capable of fully supporting legacy PSTN services like faxing, modems, and text telephone (TTY) services that are sensitive to network quality. All stakeholders we spoke with agreed that people want fast networks. That said, the issue of equity when it comes to Internet speed is a strongly held value among many advocates. Their stance relies on language going all the way back to the 1934 Communications Act that addresses access to similar services no matter where subscribers reside. The issue is complicated, however, and technically challenging. Although progress is being made in increasing the speed of transporting data over wireless-based networks, most areas are still a work in progress. More and more people, led by communities of color, are relying on smartphones as their main connection to the Internet – most often because of cost. On top of that, rural areas will become increasingly dependent on the technology as people in remote areas see their old wired networks retired and replaced by wireless. Given that reality, how should the FCC proceed?

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Robustness and Resiliency

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

The universal service concept has, perhaps, most frequently been promoted as a way to ensure that all Americans have a way to contact the authorities in the event of an emergency to preserve life and limb. And, so, when it comes to using the telephone or any telecommunications service, a basic question is whether it will work. The public switched telephone network (PSTN), renowned for its reliability for both making and receiving calls, is powered internally so that it can continue operating even when power is lost for days. Moreover, it steers first responders to the address from which a call is made. The same can’t always be said for wireless or fiber-based networks that have battery backup, which often only lasts for hours before failing. To ensure public safety, consumers need to be able to rely on networks in emergencies.

benton logo

Benton Foundation Statement on Open Internet Ruling

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

We are disappointed in today’s Court of Appeals ruling. The decision puts at risk the Internet we have come to know and rely upon. While we continue to digest the opinion, we look forward to policymakers taking the appropriate steps to continue to maintain the open and neutral Internet which has made the rapid innovations in Internet-enabled products and services possible – and revolutionized the way we communicate, participate, create, and do business. Americans deserve a continued level playing field where consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use, and where consumers are free to decide what content they want to access, create, or share with others.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Trustworthiness

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

At its January 30 open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission will propose a series of experiments utilizing all-IP networks. Those experiments will allow the networks, their users, the FCC and the public to assess the impact and potential of all-IP networks on consumers, customers and businesses in all parts of our country. In a recent blog post about the FCC's agenda, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote, "The best way to speed technology transitions is to incent network investment and innovation by preserving the enduring values that consumers and businesses have come to expect." He identified consumer protection as one of those key values. Consumer protections are largely seen as being built into traditional telephone networks. Will they continue as we transition to broadband networks? As technology moves forward, consumers must retain key protections that ensure a fair and safe experience. This includes, but is not limited to, consumer protections like privacy, truth-in-billing, blocking unwanted solicitation and preventing cramming and slamming.

benton logo

Chairman’s Year End Message 2013

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

The New Year is both a time to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of the past 12 months and a time to be excited about the future. As the Benton Foundation closes 2013, here’s what I’m most proud of – and what has me reenergized for 2014. The Benton Foundation believes that everyone in this nation should be able to fully participate in the digital age. The work we choose to do directly impacts vulnerable populations – the millions of our fellow Americans who still have no access to home broadband and the millions more still not connected to high-speed broadband – services many of us take for granted. These gaps have to be closed. For that reason we have devoted staff resources to four areas that we feel can help address broadband access and adoption challenges: 1) Lifeline Modernization and Reform, 2) E-rate and ConnectED, 3) The Telephone to Broadband (IP) Transition, and 4) Broadband Adoption by Low-Income, Elderly Consumers.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Interconnection

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

In US telecommunications law, interconnection is defined as “the linking of two networks for the mutual exchange of traffic.” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler recently described Internet interconnection this way: "The Internet . . . it is a collection, not a thing. It is the 'Inter' net, short for its original description, 'Internetworking,' because multiple open, disparate networks exchange information seamlessly. Absent the interconnection of the parts of the collective we call the Internet there is no Internet.” Chairman Wheeler went on to insist that ensuring “the Internet exists as a collection of open, interconnected facilities is a highly appropriate subject” for federal regulators. An IP transition from traditional telephone to broadband networks that enables competition simply won’t be able to occur if competitors are unable to interconnect in areas where there is legacy market power. Regulators must ensure that competing network providers are able to interconnect in areas where there is legacy market power. Subscribers must be able to reach subscribers on any other network.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Competition

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

One of the core tenants of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been that competition enables consumers to benefit from lower prices, new services, new investment, and more innovation. In the National Broadband Plan, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said, “Competition is crucial for promoting consumer welfare and spurring innovation and investment in broadband access networks. Competition provides consumers the benefits of choice, better service and lower prices.” In our ongoing series highlighting our 10 interrelated principles to help policymakers guide the transition from traditional telephone service to emerging broadband networks, we turn today to Competition. Competition means deploying high-speed IP networks throughout the country and enabling many innovative, community-based broadband options. Policymakers should be wary of arguments that seek to advance IP networks and the IP transition merely by deregulating services at the expense of competition.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Openness

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

If our broadband networks are going to replace our analog voice networks, then they must be able to support robust voice and video competition -- even if those services compete directly with services offered by the incumbent broadband network provider.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Diversity

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has for many years adopted policies to promote diversity; it should continue to embrace this goal as it helps guide the transition from traditional telephone service to emerging broadband networks.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Accessibility

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

Last month, the Benton Foundation released The New Network Compact: Making the IP Transition Work for Vulnerable Communities. The report, written by Ted Gotsch, includes 10 interrelated principles to help policymakers guide the transition from traditional telephone service to emerging broadband networks. In our first post, we looked at the availability of affordable broadband networks throughout the country. Today we look at Accessibility. Having telecommunications services reach all Americans is part of the solution. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also has to ensure that any transition to broadband networks grants all people the ability to use those services as they want.

benton logo

Principles for a Successful IP Transition: Ubiquity

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

Last month, the Benton Foundation released The New Network Compact: Making the IP Transition Work for Vulnerable Communities. The report, written by Ted Gotsch, includes 10 interrelated principles to help policymakers guide the transition from traditional telephone service to emerging broadband networks. In the coming days, we’ll highlight each of the 10 principles. Today we look at Ubiquity. First and foremost, people must have affordable access to high-speed IP networks to make the transition successful. Given the FCC’s statutory mandates and its established priorities, the agency should closely analyze how the IP transition will impact the digital divide.

benton logo

One Hundred Years After AT&T's Kingsbury Commitment, Benton Calls for a New Network Compact

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
3

On December 19, 1913, AT&T Vice President Nathan Kingsbury sent a letter to US Attorney General George McReynolds in hopes of putting AT&T’s business practices “beyond fair criticism” of anticompetitive behavior. In the letter, AT&T promised to sell its stake in Western Union Telegraph, resolve interconnection disputes, and refrain from acquisitions if the Interstate Commerce Commission objected. The letter became known as the “Kingsbury Commitment”. One hundred years later, AT&T and other landline telephone carriers seeks to retire the copper-based phone system. But the nation cannot retire the commitment Attorney General McReynolds understood to create “full opportunity throughout the country for competition in the transmission of intelligence by wire.”

benton logo

Benton Foundation Welcomes FCC's IP Transition Presentation

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
1

The Benton Foundation commends the work of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force. Today’s presentation is an important, positive step on a long road to transitioning to all-IP networks. We are glad to see the emphasis the FCC is placing on the universal deployment of broadband networks, promoting public safety, protecting consumers, and preserving and enhancing competition and interconnection. There’s strong consensus that the transition must embrace these core values. As the Commission considers the next steps in managing the transition, Benton asks that it also include in a new Network Compact additional values that are dear to consumers and crucial if vulnerable communities ...

Public Knowledge Leads Petition for FCC to Protect Phone Customers’ Privacy

Location:
Public Knowledge, 1818 N Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

Do you think your phone service provider should be able to sell or share your personal data with anyone, for any reason? No? Neither do we. More importantly, neither do lawmakers, which is why in 1996 they passed a law that severely restricted what carriers can do with all this personal information. The law modified the Communications Act to add Section 222, “Privacy of customer information.” That’s why we filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling at the Federal Communications Commission asking it to declare that the types of records AT&T is reportedly selling to the government are protected under Section 222.

FCC Chairman Wheeler Meets with Public Interest Groups

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler met with public interest groups to talk about his agency plans including his pledge of support for an open Internet.

The age of connected devices needs pragmatic policy choices

Location:
San Francisco, CA, United States
Recommendation:
2

NASA can send a 24 Mbps stream of data from the far side of Mars back to earth. So why is it so hard to get some decent mobile connectivity back on planet earth? That was one of the questions raised by Jim Kohlenberger at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco.