Adrianne Furniss

Lifeline Needs A Lifeline

In less than three months, nearly 800,000 low-income people who receive telephone subsidies through the Universal Service Fund's Lifeline program will be negatively impacted by changes scheduled to go into effect at the Federal Communications Commission on December 1, 2021. The FCC needs to change course and help more Americans keep connected to communications services that are essential to navigate the ongoing public health and economic crisis. Most importantly, the FCC should act swiftly and hit the pause button on the 2016 plan to zero-out support for voice-only services.

FCC Broadband Benchmarks Holding Back Small Business

As the US recovers from one of the worst economic crises in our history, we will be looking to small businesses to revitalize our local communities and hire displaced workers. But these enterprises will need high-performance broadband to innovate and adapt to our new, post-COVID reality. Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission's standards are not running apace. The FCC has not updated its speed benchmark for 6 years. 2015's definition of 'high-speed' is antiquated—and it is holding us back.

2021 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award

A sign in front of a church not far from my home has for the past many months read: “We’ll get through this together by staying apart.” As Spring is here and we awaken from more than a year of social distancing, we gather today to celebrate the people who helped their communities come together.

On Democracy, Unity, & Broadband

Probably like you, I made sure to make time to watch the Inauguration on January 20. Whenever a President is sworn in, his Inauguration speech sets the tone for his entire Administration.

Broadband Lessons Learned in 2020

2020 is not a year we'll want to remember, but it is also a year we'll never forget. For advocates of universal, open, affordable broadband, the tragedies that unfolded this year only increased our resolve: everyone needs to be able to use High-Performance Broadband to survive and thrive in the 21st century. We can't wait any longer to make universal broadband a reality.

Celebrate Digital Equity Advocates

2020 has been so dark. In the throes of a pandemic, we know so much has been lost – is still being lost. But for just a few moments, let us celebrate the achievements of digital equity advocates. Because 2020 only proves how essential our work is. Millions in the US have lost jobs this year. But digital equity advocates have helped people find new employment because of their connections to and expertise with the internet.

America Needs Broadband Now

For all that has changed since the Benton Institute released Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s, this goal remains paramount. In October 2019, we said that connecting our entire nation through High-Performance Broadband would bring remarkable economic, social, cultural, and personal benefits. We said that open, affordable, robust broadband is the key to all of us reaching for—and achieving—the American Dream.

Broadband’s Role in Building a Just Society

Perhaps there’s no better day to contemplate the critical connection between communications and equity than Juneteenth. June 19 commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas first learned about the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Cut off from communications, slaves in Texas were deprived news of their freedom for over two and a half years. In our time when information travels at the speed of the internet, it is almost inconceivable that anyone could be denied information so vital to their well-being for so long.

Newly Unemployed Need Lifeline

Over 10 million newly-unemployed Americans are being urged if not ordered to shelter in place for their own health and that of their communities. A broadband connection makes it possible for their children to continue to learn, for workers to look for new jobs, and for families to connect with doctors and loved ones. Fortunately, the Federal Communications Commission has a tool that can keep these people connected, the Lifeline program.