Amina Fazlullah

FCC Chairman Pai's Plan Will Take Broadband Away From Poor People

[Commentary] Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has portrayed the Lifeline program and the people who benefit from it as hopelessly corrupt. Now he is proposing to make changes that will, for all intents and purposes, destroy the program. He aims to severely reduce both the supply of and demand for Lifeline-supported services. 

Looking Back, Looking Forward: What it will take to permanently close the K-12 digital divide

This is the third in our series of reports on the digital divide with Boston Consulting Group, and presents a clear roadmap for closing it once and for all. The report offers new and more granular detail on the root causes of the digital divide, cites work by many other groups in this field, and shows that previous COVID relief efforts have still left millions of kids caught in the gap and have funded mainly short-short-term solutions that are set to expire.

Supporting Equitable Access to Education by Closing the Homework Gap

The next administration should maximize the use of all available policy tools to close the homework gap and keep it closed. First, the Federal Communications Commission should update the existing E-rate program to allow schools to ensure home access to broadband for every student and teacher (Pre-K to Grade 12). Second, the FCC, in coordination with the Department of Education, should launch a one-to-one device program for students and teachers (Pre-K to Grade 12).

Connect All Students: How States and School Districts Can Close the Digital Divide

How did stakeholders respond to school closings and the digital divide --  and what lessons can be learned from those efforts to close the digital divide going forward? This report highlights case studies at the state, city, and school district level and concludes that there are three key steps in the still unfinished endeavor of closing the K–12 digital divide during the pandemic.

Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning

A full 15 to 16 million public school students across the US live in households without adequate internet access or computing devices to facilitate distance learning. Almost 10% of public school teachers (300,000 to 400,000) are also caught in the gap, affecting their ability to run remote classes. The 32-page report, Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning, fixes a one-year price tag of at least $6 billion and as much as $11 billion to connect all kids at home, and an additional $1 billion to close the divide for teachers.

The Homework Gap: Teacher Perspectives on Closing the Digital Divide

In 2018, Common Sense conducted a national survey and focus groups to understand the challenges and promise of technology use in the classroom for learning. Teachers across the US were asked about the use of educational technology with students in their classrooms, and issues of access emerged:

Connecting the Unconnected with Open Access Infrastructure

Most Americans do not have much of a choice in Internet service providers, even in big cities. But for a lucky few, they have not only a robust gigabit connection but also a choice of many providers. This is most common in an arrangement called “open access.” Some 30 communities spread across the United States have embraced this model — where the local government builds a fiber-optic infrastructure and acts as a wholesaler, allowing independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer the actual service to households and businesses.

Road Map to Connecting the Under-connected: Towns and cities at core of digital inclusion policies and partnerships

In the hopes of increasing digital equity, here are some observations and suggestions for framing, enacting and collectively furthering digital inclusion policy. 1) Terminology helps frame policy. 2) Anchor policy in comprehensive frameworks. 3) Government has a role as a convener & participant, but not a singular responsibility. 4) Digital inclusion planning and policy should be intentional, and also nurtured. 5) Build community capacity and work with trusted ambassadors.

Benton Welcomes Lifeline Proceeding, Urges Implementation of Program to Ensure Affordable Broadband

Today’s action by the Wireline Competition Bureau is a welcome step in the right direction. We strongly urge the Commission to move forward with implementing the modernization of the Lifeline program so that our nation’s most vulnerable are connected to the opportunities made possible by broadband. Every day that the FCC delays in implementing Lifeline is another day veterans, rural students, people with disabilities, and other low-income people are left waiting in the digital desert.

Benton Troubled By FCC's Transparency About Face

The “E-rate Modernization Progress Report” tells a powerful story of how pragmatic FCC policies are playing a vital role in extending gigabit broadband to every school, Wi-Fi to every classroom, and opportunity to every child. It tells of progress being enabled by the E-Rate and commitments of support from a bipartisan group of governors. This impressive broadband progress is something that all of us, as Americans, can be proud of. It’s surprising that a day after taking new transparency steps, the FCC would somehow feel the need to remove this data from the record and hide this broadband progress report from the public. We just aren’t sure what this “sweep under the rug” strategy may be about, or why the FCC is now playing politics with our kids' digital future.