Coronavirus and Connectivity

Through our Headlines news service, Benton is tracking the role of broadband in the response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Click on titles below for full summaries of articles and links to sources.

1,000 homes in northwest Dayton have no Internet. City wants to change that

The city of Dayton is searching for a vendor to help bring high-speed internet to some high-poverty areas in the northwestern part of the city using federal coronavirus relief money. The city has issued a notice of funding opportunities that says it has $1.4 million in federal CARES Act dollars available to expand broadband access to multiple neighborhoods, including Philadelphia Woods, Fairview, Hillcrest, Dayton View, Mount Vernon, and Santa Clara. About 952 households in those neighborhoods do not have internet access, or nearly a quarter of the total (22.8%), according to Census data. T

Charter Relaunches Free 60-Day Spectrum Internet & WiFi Offer To Help Connect New Households With K-12 And College Students Or Educators

Charter Communications announced a relaunch of its Remote Education Offer providing free Spectrum Internet – with speeds up to 200 Mbps in most markets – and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12th graders, college students and/or educators. The promotion is available for customers who live in a Spectrum market and do not currently have Spectrum Internet services.

CBRS Backhaul Supports Texas Citywide Hotspot Deployment Targeting Students

The city of McAllen (TX) is tapping unlicensed Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum to provide backhaul for a citywide Wi-Fi hotspot deployment aimed at enabling students in the city to gain internet connectivity to support distance learning during COVID-19. A large percentage of students are low income and do not have high-speed broadband at home. Many of the costs of constructing the network were covered through a CARES Act grant.

Why Puerto Rico is still struggling to get online

Internet connectivity remains a weak link for the disaster-wracked US territory Puerto Rico, and some experts fear a new tranche of Federal Communications Commission subsidies set aside just for the island might not help the people most in need of a broadband connection. Puerto Rico is locked out of most federal funding available to US states to help expand internet service.

The US needs a broadband reboot

The reality of the ongoing COVID pandemic means that many of us must continue to work virtually, enter classrooms remotely, and engage with the world through broadband internet service. From a recent Consumer Reports American Experiences Survey, we know that four-fifths of Americans now believe that access to broadband is as vital as electricity and running water.

Commissioner Starks' Remarks at the 2020 INCOMPAS Show

The Federal Communications Commission’s top priority must be connecting all Americans to modern high-speed communications networks. Solving this problem was always a moral imperative, and COVID-19 has raised the stakes.

Comcast shut off Internet to hundreds, saying they were illegally connected

Comcast says that a broadband reseller illegally sold Comcast Internet service in residential buildings in the Denver area and has terminated the connections to those buildings. The shutoff affected hundreds of people who live in buildings serviced by AlphaWiFi, "which installs and services Internet in approximately 90 apartment buildings across Denver." The shutoff came as a surprise to residents, including Kaley Warren, who has been working at home during the pandemic. "It is my entire lifeline," said Warren, who said that without warning her Internet service disappeared. "I felt lost.

FCC should Face the Facts on US Broadband Availability

New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) and Access Now filed comments urging the Federal Communications Commission to recognize the inadequate state of broadband availability in the United States.

Pandemic Broadband Speeds Are Faster, but Insufficient for Some

Broadband speeds in the US have ticked up on average since March, easing fears of network disruptions as businesses widened the use of videoconferencing and other data-heavy tools during the pandemic. But even with the gains, many work-from-home employees continue to struggle with patchy internet connections, especially workers living in rural regions, employers say. As of July, average home internet speeds across the U.S.