Joan Marsh

New Year, New Solutions: Reforming Universal Service Contributions

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which promises up to $50/month towards broadband service, is a real step in the right direction.  But those dollars will be quickly exhausted.

2021 – Closing the Homework Gap Together

Four specific steps government, with industry’s cooperation, can take to make availability and affordability a reality for every American:

The RDOF Auction Results and Implications for US Broadband Policy

The preliminary results of the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction are now public and while it is a long road from auction results to authorization of funding to actual deployment, the results have significant implications for US broadband policy.

Gambling with our 5G Future

AT&T is responding to a Request for Information from the US Department of Defense (DoD) that seeks comment on spectrum sharing technologies and leasing arrangements; asks whether the DoD should own and operate its own 5G network; and addresses myriad technical, statutory, legal, regulatory and policy issues associated with new approaches to spectrum sharing.

Understanding the Potential Cost of an Expanded Lifeline Program

As Congress debates increases to the Lifeline benefit, it should also ensure that funds are directly appropriated to support any benefit increase or otherwise ensure that the Universal Service Fund funding mechanism is significantly reformed. Relying on decades-old funding approaches will only serve to undermine the goal of providing 21st-century broadband connectivity to Lifeline eligible households.

The Neutrality Debate We Need to Have

On Sept 2, the Federal Communications Commission will take comments on NTIA’s petition on reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision enacted in 1996 to address a narrow set of concerns involving nascent internet platforms that then played only a marginal role in American life.  The purpose of the provision made sense at that moment in internet history:  Section 230 sought to insulate the newly emerging tech

Making Lifeline a Snap For Eligible Households

Although Lifeline eligibility is now linked directly to the Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, Lifeline has adopted none of the technology advances designed to make it both consumer and provider-friendly.  If the Lifeline program is to play a bigger role in addressing the well-documented internet usage gaps for low-income Americans, the program must be modernized. In a modernized Lifeline program, eligible households would apply

We Need to Fundamentally Rethink How USF Programs are Funded

Here are at least three very good reasons why we shouldn’t wait any longer to address the rising Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution factor:

The Real Debate Over The Open Internet

April 26, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he would open a proceeding to revisit the question of whether Congress directed the FCC to regulate the internet using the regulatory framework adopted in 1934 for the monopoly-era telephone networks. To be clear, this proceeding is not about whether the open internet will continue to be protected and preserved. That question has been asked and answered repeatedly and in the affirmative by Democratic and Republican Administrations alike for well over a decade, first with the Powell and Martin Internet Principles, then with the Genachowski Open Internet Order...

[T]he question of this moment is not whether the internet will remain open – it undoubtedly will. The question is how, as a country, we will regulate the Internet ecosystem – including not only Internet service providers and the broadband infrastructure they deploy, but the tech companies that now dominate the Internet experience. The question is also whether Congress will commit on a bi-partisan basis to adopt a balanced and durable statutory framework that will enshrine reasonable rules for the digital road with specificity and clarity. That, in the end, is the only way to resolve the open internet debate once and for all.

Delivering on the Broadband Promise to All Americans

If a recent House Communications Subcommittee hearing on broadband infrastructure is any measure, there appears to be growing consensus that any new infrastructure bill should include dollars for broadband – arguably the most essential infrastructure for American progress and productivity. But the hearing also made clear that Congress continues to have significant concerns around how to design such a program to ensure that any dollars designated for broadband are spent wisely.

We support an approach that places responsibility on the Federal Communications Commission to disperse any new broadband dollars through its Connect America Fund (CAF) and Mobility Fund (MF) programs. These two programs, as further refined in two orders adopted by the FCC in March, provide clear evidence that the Commission has the expertise and the tools to manage a data-driven process that will ensure that any incremental broadband funding is directed where broadband does not currently exist and is needed the most.