Adrianne Furniss

The Importance and Effectiveness of the E-Rate Program

An important aspect of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society’s work has focused on schools and libraries. As far back as 1995, Benton published The Learning Connection: Schools in the Information Age, examining how educators were grappling with the difficult interplay of technological change and educational values.

The Importance of the Universal Service Fund

On July 27, 2023, the U.S. Senate's Universal Service Fund (USF) Working Group invited public comment on the future of the USF with the stated goal of creating a bipartisan forum to guide education, awareness, and policymaking on the USF. The opportunity to weigh in with the senators has had me thinking about the importance of the USF for bringing affordable broadband infrastructure and services to millions of people around the country. So I'm taking this opportunity to share my thoughts on one of the most important tools in our national effort to reach truly universal broadband.

Visions of Digital Equity Principles

Digital equity—or, digital opportunity, if you prefer—is having a moment. The US is making an unprecedented investment to ensure that individuals and communities have the capacity to fully participate in our society and economy. This is a huge undertaking with momentous implications on the future of the Nation. Each state has been asked to envision how life there can be transformed by achieving digital equity.

Benton Institute Welcomes Investigation into Broadband Data Caps

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society supports the FCC’s inquiry into data caps which limit the amount of access consumers have to data before they are charged surplus fees or cut off from service. There is scant evidence that such caps are necessary and their consequences can be especially disastrous for vulnerable populations. Data caps are particularly problematic for low-income individuals who may find themselves facing unexpectedly large fees at the end of the month as a result of surpassing a data cap.

Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn Ends Bid for FCC Seat

On October 25, 2021, I joined a chorus of voices celebrating President Biden’s wise choice for America’s broadband future. Having worked with her closely, I understand firsthand that Gigi Sohn is a smart, savvy, and talented leader who would have brought 30 years of relevant experience, an incredible intellect, and tremendous talent to the FCC to help guide our nation's communications future at such a pivotal time in history. Throughout her more than three decades of public interest advocacy, Ms.

2023 Charles Benton Digital Equity Awards

A more equitable, more just society. What an audacious goal. But it is a goal that, I believe, everyone here shares. “It takes a village” is such an understatement. What it takes to reach this ambitious but increasingly necessary goal is all of us pulling in the same direction over many miles and many years. What it takes is commitment, innovation, leadership, and collaboration. Today we get to celebrate some digital equity heroes. These champions demonstrate the commitment, innovation, leadership, and collaboration we all need to embrace in our own work.

Island Institute’s Rural Community Engagement Amplifies Maine’s Broadband Efforts

The Island Institute works to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities, helping them tackle pressing environmental and socioeconomic issues and lead as examples of sustainability. With a focus on developing resilient economies, this philanthropic institution works with community leaders to increase broadband expansion in rural areas. As the most rural state in the nation—with mountains, coasts, and islands—Maine faces a mighty economic challenge to connect every resident to reliable high-speed internet service.

Philanthropy Joins Hands to Build a New Generation of Leaders to Help Bring People Online

American Connection Corps, an initiative operated by Lead for America, is the nation’s largest fellowship program focused on bridging the digital divide. AmeriCorps, Land O’Lakes, Heartland Forward’s Connecting the Heartland initiative (which supports fellows in their target states of Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas, and Tennessee), and select partners from the American Connection Project all support the corps.

Texas Rural Funders Plays an Essential Role in State Broadband Efforts

In 2019, Texas Rural Funders, a statewide philanthropic collaborative of 39 funders focused on bringing attention and resources to rural Texas, learned that Texas was one of six states in the United States that had neither a statewide broadband plan nor a broadband office. This put Texas communities at a disadvantage; federal agencies deducted points when scoring broadband grant applications, lowering communities’ chances of receiving the critical funding needed.

The Infrastructure Law is Still about More than Money

A year ago, I urged us all to look beyond the $65 billion the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act sets aside for broadband and realize the importance of Congress’ recognition that access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband is essential to full participation in modern life in the United States. I still find this renewed and updated Congressional commitment to universal service to be astounding. We should continue to celebrate it—and continue the work that ensures this commitment becomes a reality.