FCC’s Low-Income Phone Reform Needs to Connect and Tie Eligibility to People, Not Housing

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.

Lifeline and Link Up Programs for the 21st Century

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.

Benton Editorial

Looking Back at 2011

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.

PEG Access Centers Closing at Alarming Rate

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.

Local TV News & Joint Services Agreements

By Danilo Yanich, PhD
University of Delaware

Benton Editorial

Benton Foundation Opposes Proposed AT&T Acquisition of T-Mobile USA

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.

Too Much Power in One Company’s Hands

Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps was the only FCC commissioner to dissent from the order allowing Comcast and General Electric to enter into a complicated joint venture that will give Comcast control of NBC Universal. Here is his statement.

Benton Editorial

Sputnik 2: Time for Broadband

By Charles Benton

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama said our generation’s Sputnik moment is upon us. President Obama likened our recent economic setbacks to a key moment in October 1957 when Americans saw our scientific leadership in the world fall from first to second as a small beeping sphere sped through the night sky. I strongly agree. And I see broadband as a key element in our response to Sputnik 2.

Key Factors for Successful Community Media Initiatives

The ongoing need for community media programs has much to do with the dearth of diverse voices and representation within mainstream media outlets.


On Defining the Third Way

Regarding Reclassification:  A series of blog posts exploring the legal landscape of Communications Act Title I and II reclassification