Back in December 2011, Verizon Wireless and some of the largest cable TV companies in the US announced a transaction in which Verizon will pay the cable companies $3.6 billion for wireless spectrum. With that spectrum, Verizon can build what amounts to another LTE network parallel to its current 4G network at 700 MHZ.
From the desk of
Today I begin a monthly blog for the Benton Foundation. I’m excited about doing this and thank my friend Charles Benton for the opportunity to share my thoughts with Benton’s faithful readers.
American Hate Radio: How A Powerful Outlet For Democratic Discourse Has Deteriorated Into Hate, Racism and Extremism
For over a century we have used the radio waves to communicate with our neighbors. Even today radio remains the primary way that Americans consume media, reaching 93% of the American population on a weekly basis. Radio can be an excellent outlet for news, democratic discourse, community engagement and even life-saving emergency information, and, in many instances, it is just that.
By the end of this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to issue new rules aimed at reforming and modernizing the low-income Lifeline telephone program. The rules are expected to include many changes to the application process. It will also update the annual check-in which determines continued eligibility for the program.
Whether the FCC succeeds in this effort will depend on whether the reform order includes an extensive education and outreach component to explain the changes. Planning must start now.
The Federal Communications Commission is poised to reform and modernize the Lifeline phone program that was created to help low-income household afford phone service. The reform and modernization is expected to move the program beyond traditional landline service to better accommodate wireless phone service and to set a foundation to move to broadband access for poor people. Yet, the reform could also discriminate against the very people the program was designed to help.
After years of consideration, the Federal Communications Commission is going to update its Lifeline and Link Up programs for the 21st century. Chairman Julius Genachowski, in a speech January 9, announced his plan to significantly reform the program to include broadband-focused elements and to streamline the legacy voice service program to ensure that it performs efficiently.
As the Benton Foundation closes out our 30th year as an organization dedicated to the ideal of media and telecommunications serving the public interest and enhancing our democracy, here are some thoughts on our major activities during these past twelve months.
By Cecilia Garcia
Benton and our friends at the Alliance for Communications Democracy (ACD) wanted to get a feel for the state of public, educational and government (PEG) access across the nation. We wanted to see if PEG channels are realizing the promise and optimism expressed back in 1984 by the House Commerce Committee in a report that set forth the reason why these channels are so important.
After a review of the purported benefits and early analysis of the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T, the Benton Foundation urges the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to reject a deal that offers no public interest dividend.
First and foremost, the acquisition will combine the 2nd and 4th largest wireless carriers in the US. Undoubtedly, this combination will reduce competition in this market and will result in fewer choices for consumers, higher prices, and less innovation.