Margaret Harding McGill

Breaking barriers in fiber fieldwork

Tonya Felsinger spent more than half her life working in the food service industry. She obtained her GED a few years ago, and her GED teacher and an administrator at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) encouraged her to try the school’s new fiber technician training course.

New hot job: State high-speed internet network director

Ensuring that more than $40 billion in new funding connects every American to high-speed internet service is a job that's falling to the states — and they need help. Of all the job openings posted for states' burgeoning broadband offices, the "director" position is the most common vacancy, according to data from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Directors are often responsible for crafting state broadband plans and overseeing hundreds of millions in funding from multiple state and federal programs. The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) will provide $42.45 billion to expand hi

Global internet gaps prompt calls for a US plan

Pressure is growing for the US to develop a plan to quickly build internet lifelines for people living in conflict zones or under repressive regimes. The absence of a broadband strategy has led to a reliance on the ad hoc goodwill of private companies, such as Elon Musk's donation of Starlink satellite to provide internet service in Ukraine. Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr said that the US needs both the ability to quickly deploy internet networks and surge the production of censorship-circumvention online tools in authoritarian countries. Rep.

How Democrats' big plans for Big Tech shrunk to tiny steps

Pledges to tackle data surveillance practices, harm to children's mental health, and tech giants' power over wide swaths of the economy haven't yet translated into passing new laws, and the clock is running out. High-profile bills that would heap new regulations on the tech industry have advanced, but they've yet to cross the finish line into law. On antitrust, the House of Representatives passed a bill in September 2022 that will raise filing fees for large mergers, using the proceeds to fund antitrust enforcement efforts.

Corning building new factory in response to broadband internet boom

Corning will build a new manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona, in response to a spike in demand for fiber-optic cable as the US government ramps up its $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding program. Corning said the investment is supported by customer commitments, including from "anchor customer" AT&T, which is also working with Corning on a fiber optic technician training program.

Goalposts moving on broadband competition

Most Americans can choose among several providers of home internet service, but that competition masks their much more limited options for true high-speed connections. Home internet connections became even more essential during the pandemic, but there's still disagreement about the extent of competition in the broadband market. "Competition" in the broadband space has two primary interpretations.

Big Tech is facing a data privacy squeeze

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s major move towards crafting data privacy rules is the latest signal of a potential end to Big Tech's expansive use of online data. As people grow warier of the online trails of digital data they leave behind, the lack of data privacy protections in the US has increasingly become a glaring source of concern for many. The FTC voted 3-2 along party lines to seek comment on the harms of "commercial surveillance" and whether privacy rules are needed.

Broadband subscriber growth slows to pre-pandemic levels

Cable companies have managed to stay afloat amid the cord-cutting crisis thanks to their booming broadband businesses. But some analysts see that safety net beginning to fade. Jonathan Chaplin, managing partner at New Street Research, said that the firm has lowered its broadband subscriber estimates for the second time in 2022 for both Charter and Comcast. "We have limited conviction in a quick recovery, given limited visibility all around," he said regarding Charter. "We are hoping for a turnaround later in the quarter but have low conviction," he added about Comcast.

For President Biden's FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn, the clock is running down

Congress hasn't budged on President Biden's pick for a key tie-breaking Federal Communications Commission seat as the clock ticks down on the chance for a vote.

Deadlocked FCC could derail President Biden's digital equity plans

The Biden administration has charged the Federal Communications Commission with prohibiting digital discrimination — but without a third Democratic commissioner to break the agency's partisan deadlock, those plans are in trouble. One of President Biden's key domestic priorities, improving internet access and affordability, can't advance unless the Senate confirms his FCC nominee.