Todd Shields

Broadband’s Have-Nots Test Biden Plan for Rural Internet Rollout

The Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $100 billion to extend broadband networks to all US households. But officials relying on industry data produced inaccurate maps of internet deployment. As a result, the US doesn’t know where to find everyone lacking service. “The biggest problem is false positives -- places shown as having broadband when they don’t,” said Michael Romano, senior vice president at NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association.

Supreme Court Rules FCC Can Relax Media-Ownership Rules

The US Supreme Court let the Federal Communications Commission ease limits on the ownership of local television and radio stations, siding with the broadcast industry and Trump-era regulators in a long-running fight. The Justices unanimously overturned an appeals court ruling that had required the FCC to first study the potential impact on female and minority ownership in the media industry. Republicans and the broadcast industry have been seeking to relax the ownership limits for decades, saying the restrictions are badly outdated.

Color of Change Backs Geoffrey Starks for FCC Chairman

Color of Change, a civil rights group, urged President-elect Joe Biden to choose Commissioner Geoffrey Starks to be the Federal Communications Commission's next chairman. Commissioner Starks is junior to fellow Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who took office in 2012 and is widely considered to be a leading candidate for the chair. She would be the first woman named FCC chair, other than a Mignon Clyburn who served as acting chairwoman in 2013. Commissioner Starks “has demonstrated and recently reaffirmed his commitment to digital equity,” Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson said.

Time Running Out for FCC to Take Up Trump Attack on Social Media

The Federal Communications Commission has run low on time to adopt an order trimming a liability shield for social media companies, leaving the fate of a request from President Donald Trump in doubt. On Dec 22, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai let slip a deadline for setting a vote on the proposal at the next monthly meeting of the agency, which is scheduled for Jan. 13 and is the last before he leaves the commission a week later. FCC proposals not adopted at meetings can be passed with a vote by commissioners behind closed doors.

Joe Biden Win Could Curb Deals, Revive Net Neutrality in FCC Pivot

A victory by Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election could usher in an abrupt change in the nation’s telecommunications policy, restoring so-called net neutrality regulation and shifting the Republican drive to rein in social media outlets, among other things. Biden hasn’t talked much about the Federal Communications Commission during the campaign, but his party’s platform is specific. It calls for restoring net neutrality rules put in place under then-President Barack Obama when Biden served as vice president and taking a harder line on telecommunications mergers.

Charter Gets a Little Help From Its Friends In Bid to Raise Fees

Charter Communications has won support from an unlikely roster of organizations as it seeks permission to increase fees for customers that use a lot of data. The Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, for example. The New York youth organization is among scores of civic and local-business groups that have received charitable donations from the company, and have reciprocated by filing statements on Charter’s behalf with the Federal Communications Commission.

Chairman Pai Challenges Twitter After It Warns About President Trump Tweet

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai challenged Twitter over a bellicose posting from Iran’s top leader hours after the company put a warning about glorifying violence on a tweet from President Donald Trump. “Serious question for @Twitter: Do these tweets from Supreme Leader of Iran @khamenei_ir violate “Twitter Rules about glorifying violence”? Chairman Pai said in a tweet. He attached screen shots of May 22 tweets from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei predicting the eventual elimination of Israel.

Virtual School Leaves Kids Behind, Sparking New Broadband Push

The Covid-19 crisis, by laying bare the so-called “digital divide” at school systems and communities across the country, may achieve what years of lobbying by interest groups has failed to deliver: significant new federal funding to narrow the gap. A growing number of politicians of both parties in Washington are coming to agree.

Once Bankrupt, Tiny Broadband Company Ligado Thrives in the Trump Era

Ligado Networks LLC overcame powerful opposition to its proposed broadband network with some help from inside-the-Beltway figures close to President Donald Trump’s White House. The Reston (VA)-based company prevailed with a costly persuasion campaign overseen by a blue-chip roster of lobbyists and board members.