Kelcee Griffis

ISPs Say They Kept Virus Pledge, But Customers Disagree

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission pushed internet service providers to promise they wouldn't penalize customers who struggled to pay their internet bills when they needed connectivity the most. More than 800 companies signed onto the Keep Americans Connected pledge, a commitment to not disconnect customers who were behind on their bills or charge late-payment fees that drew effusive praise from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Provider Info Gaps, Price Hikes Top List Of Emergency Broadband Benefit Gripes

The Federal Communications Commission is receiving consumer complaints concerning the disconnects between benefits touted as part of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and the frequent failure of broadband internet access service providers to deliver on those promises. Some providers are forcing consumers to change plans in order to get the $50 monthly subsidy or not validating customers' already-established eligibility to participate. About 19% of the complaints reported service-tier issues that complicated the participation in the program.

Senators Urged To Invest In Variety Of Broadband Technologies

During a hearing titled "Building Resilient Networks," lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband were asked to boost the reliability of the nation's broadband networks by spreading infrastructure funding among a variety of technologies such as fixed wireless and mobile broadband rather than limiting it solely to fiber. Wireless Infrastructure Association President Jonathan Adelstein testified that a singular focus on fiber broadband networks that can deliver "symmetrical" speeds of 100 megabits per second would prioritize a sometimes c

FCC Split Over Who Gets Emergency Broadband Funds First

Federal Communications Commissioners appeared divided on Feb 17 over how the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program funding should be distributed to Americans hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic — either by evenly prioritizing the funding to affected groups or targeting the money specifically to students.

President Trump Has Limited Tools To Push Back Against Social Media

President Donald Trump fired off a missive in the wee hours Nov 6 suggesting yet again that social media platforms should be punished for labeling his tweets about vote counts as misleading and hiding a number of his posts. "Twitter is out of control, made possible through the government gift of Section 230!" he posted on Twitter.

Broadband Scarcity Looms Over Virtual School Year

As school districts hammer out plans to hold fall classes partially or fully online, educators and regulators are scrambling to get as many students connected to the internet as possible, highlighting the ongoing connectivity divide that threatens to further disadvantage low-income and rural learners. The problem is big enough that Congress may need to offer an answer. Chicago has demonstrated a particularly good model by striking contracts with providers like Comcast for bulk sponsored service accounts, which let the school distri

ISPs' COVID Response Said To Negate Net Neutrality Rules

Generous actions from internet service providers during the coronavirus pandemic prove that broad, now-repealed net neutrality rules were always unnecessary, said Roslyn Layton, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Layton said that service providers’ offers to waive cancellations and fees while many Americans are struggling financially demonstrate that ISPs are acting with customers’ best interests in mind and do not require close government oversight.

COVID-19 Has School Districts Battling For WiFi Hotspots

Groups that procure student-friendly hotspots and laptops with built-in internet access say that, as school districts move all classes online, a spike in demand has created a shortage of thousands — if not millions — of devices. LTE-connected laptops and hotspots are two of the most popular ways that school districts can put a plug-and-play internet connection into students' hands, allowing them to complete homework and keep up with lessons without a hardwired, in-home connection. One of the biggest barriers to obtaining the equipment is that it is made in China. Daniel Neal, founder of sch

Wi-Fi May Slow, But Low-Income Access Is Key COVID-19 Issue

As large amounts of daytime internet traffic shift from offices and schools to home networks, telecommunications experts predict that for most users, the existing web infrastructure is robust enough to handle the upswing in streaming, conference calling and distance learning. That may not be the case for low-income Americans who struggle to get online in the first place, however. While general Wi-Fi users may see bottlenecks at times, advocates assert that preserving internet access for low-income Americans will dominate as a larger issue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What's In Store For FCC Media Ownership Deregulation

Under Chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission has set an aggressive agenda of relaxing or wholly scrapping rules intended to limit the influence of nationwide broadcasters and to keep media consolidation at bay.