Margaret Harding McGill

Conservative media is at odds over President Biden's FCC pick

In an unexpected twist, two conservative news networks — Newsmax and One America News Network— have come out in support of President Biden's progressive Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society], despite a broad conservative consensus against her. If Sohn is confirmed, her appointment would give Democrats the majority they need to rewrite regulations for the communications sector.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights. An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Congress decimates 911's digital upgrade

Public safety officials fear the nation's 911 centers will continue to languish in the analog era, after Democrats slashed proposed funding for a digital makeover in their social spending bill.

Deploying free WiFi in apartment buildings to close the digital divide

A national nonprofit backed by Silicon Valley luminaries is proposing to set up free WiFi in apartment buildings as one solution to an intractable problem — ensuring those who have access to the internet can actually afford it.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country. Underline, a community infrastructure company, began building its first open access fiber network in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2021. Under the open access model, Underline builds and operates the fiber network while multiple service providers can use it and offer service to customers.

Sen Klobuchar introduces bill to provide funding for the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1

Co-chair of the Senate Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) announced a bill to create a $10 billion federal grant program for upgrades to the US's 911 centers (S.2754). Expanding 911 to accept more kinds of digital data would add more resiliency to a system that's still built around a copper-based telephone network. A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.

Former US national security officials claim antitrust could hurt US in China tech race

Twelve former top US national security officials are urging Congress to hit pause on a package of antitrust bills in order to consider how breaking up tech companies could harm the US 

How the FCC got boxed out of the broadband push

As the federal government readies to spend tens of billions of dollars on broadband upgrades, the Federal Communications Commission — the agency that has traditionally doled out subsidies for internet connections — is on the sidelines. The broadband money got routed around the FCC for several reasons, according to insiders familiar with the process.

Telecommunications companies come out on top in $65 billion broadband upgrade

The White House-backed infrastructure bill moving toward Senate approval divvies up $65 billion in broadband funding in ways that largely please the big cable and telecommunications companies. President Biden's spending blueprints and talking points stoked 

New caucus shows GOP split on tech regulations

House Republicans launched a GOP caucus on Big Tech, seeking to build support for antitrust changes despite a divide among Republicans. The "Freedom from Big Tech Caucus" is co-chaired by House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee top Republican Ken Buck (R-CO) and Rep Lance Gooden (R-TX), and counts Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) as a vice chair.