Gigi Sohn

We need a permanent solution for universal broadband access

In August 2020, during the heart of the covid-19 pandemic when many schools were closed, social media and news outlets were awash with a picture of two grade school students sitting outside of a Taco Bell, attempting to do their schoolwork.

How to Build a Public Broadband Network

For decades, public broadband networks have been successfully serving hundreds of communities with fast, robust, and affordable internet access. Unlike private-sector networks, municipal, tribal, and other community- and member-owned broadband networks are focused on ensuring universal, robust connectivity at affordable prices. The results have been remarkable.

American Association For Public Broadband (AAPB) Statement On Dark Money Attacks On Utopia Fiber And Traverse City Light & Power

Here they go again. Using false and tired arguments, big cable is attacking three community broadband networks that residents and their elected officials chose to build and own. And like it did earlier in 2023 in Bountiful City, Utah, it is hiding behind a surrogate that doesn’t reveal its financial supporters. It is profoundly ironic that the country’s richest media companies are attacking “government-run” networks when they are at the same time bringing in billions of dollars of subsidies from the federal government and seeking billions more in grants from state governments.

Three Challenges for 2024

State policymakers face a big test—how to best spend the almost $272 million the Commerce Department allocated from its Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program as well as the funding the state receives under the Digital Equity Act. Today I want to look ahead to 2024 and talk about three challenges that all states, including Maine, will face. I also want to suggest how states can meet these challenges to ensure that this once-in-a-lifetime funding secures fast, affordable and reliable broadband Internet access for every US household. 

From Detours to Destinations

There are so many exciting things happening in the digital equity space. However, as the title of my talk foreshadows—the road to digital equity is not always straight and it’s often bumpy. Over the past 3 and a half years especially, we have made great gains, only to suffer setbacks. And while I’m optimistic about the future, we are now in a critical moment in the effort to get everyone connected to affordable and robust broadband.

Broadband, Social Justice, and the Future of Universal Connectivity

A discussion about why universal access to affordable, robust broadband is a matter of social justice and necessary for a thriving democracy. That might seem obvious to many of you—how can one fully participate in our society, our economy, our education, health care and financial systems or our democracy without a broadband connection?

Reflections on a Diverse Career in Communications Law and Policy

I’ve been asked to speak tonight about my career as a public interest communications lawyer and advocate, a grantmaker, and a public servant. When someone asks you to reflect on your career and perhaps offer some wisdom, it can only mean one thing – you’re old! Seriously, though, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have had exciting and diverse experiences in civil society, philanthropy, government, and yes, even in the private sector.  But like cooking a great meal, building a successful career requires a mix of a lot of different ingredients.

Bountiful City voted for fiber broadband. Big cable wants to take it away.

May 26 was an historic day for Bountiful City. The City Council voted unanimously, 5-0, to provide its residents with lightning fast, universal and affordable fiber broadband service by partnering with UTOPIA Fiber, the same company that provides fiber-to-the-home service in 20 cities across Utah.

Mapping, Impact & Adoption: A Research Agenda for Effective Rural Broadband Policy

The federal government lacks the economic, technical and social science research to make smart decisions on where and how to invest to close the digital divide in rural America.  The same can be said of the states, which are increasingly major players in funding both infrastructure and digital inclusion initiatives, and, I sincerely hope, will be partners with the federal government in crafting and executing broadband policy.

Tech on the Rocks LIVE Podcast Special | Broadband for America NOW - A Conversation With Mignon Clyburn & Jonathan Sallet

On this special live episode of Tech on the Rocks, Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn sits down with former Federal Communications Commission Acting Chair and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn as well as Benton Senior Fellow and Former FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet to discuss the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society's new report: Broadband for America Now. The report, authored by Sallet, lays out a bold vision for delivering robust broadband to all Americans, regardless of geography and socio-econo