Editorial

The Importance of Spending Federal Funds to Build Broadband Right the First Time

In the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Congress established a preference for “priority broadband projects,” defined as projects providing broadband service that meet high performance standards, can scale with consumer and business needs over time, and will enable the deployment of 5G and other advanced services. After receiving input from a wide range of parties, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) determined that “end-to-end fiber optic facilities” were the only platform that satisfied these requirements and warranted such a priority.

What Is Net Neutrality? Myths and Realities

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced her plan to restore the agency’s rightful authority to protect internet users. To undermine this effort, the industry has cranked up its Title II myth machine.

Connecting neighbors to high-speed Internet service in rural Texas

In August, I had the pleasure of visiting Totelcom’s—a family-owned, rural telecommunications provider—offices and training facilities in De Leon, Texas. The visit provided insight into the work and challenges of rural providers, and how much those challenges can vary across a state as vast and geographically diverse as Texas. Totelcom trains its workers on the job by partnering new employees with more experienced staff who show them the ropes and provide valuable mentorship.

Congress Must Extend Affordable Connectivity Program Funding to Keep Kids Connected

If Congress doesn’t act to extend the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), millions of households that currently have broadband internet access could lose it before the end of the 2023-2024 school year. Students could fall into the “homework gap," meaning they won't be able to complete schoolwork at home and keep up with their classmates.

USF Programs Should Embrace Competition

One of the primary goals in enacting the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was to let anyone enter any communications business—to let any communications business compete in any market against any other firm.

Preserving and Advancing Universal Service

As what we can do with the internet has expanded, so too has the way we connect, and how we use it—at home and on the go. In the United States today, it has become the norm for a majority of households to have two types of subscriptions to the internet—mobile data for their phone and fixed (and for the most part) wireline service for their residence. Over 75 percent of households whose annual incomes exceed $50,000 have cellular data and wireline broadband subscriptions. For households below that level, 44.7 percent have both types of subscription plans.

Let’s Put Spectrum to Use Now for American Consumers

To maintain American leadership in the global 5G economy, the wireless industry must keep deploying more spectrum for consumers. It’s as simple as that. At T-Mobile, we have a record of putting our spectrum to good use quickly, now covering 326 million Americans with 5G service, 285 million of whom are covered by Ultra Capacity 5G. But in 2023, the government has not been doing its part to keep the pipeline flowing and action is needed. In 2022, the Federal Communication Commission completed Auction 108.

The Importance and Effectiveness of the Lifeline Program

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is greatly concerned with the preservation and advancement of the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program—a vital Universal Service Fund program that must continue to be improved to achieve its goals, broaden its reach, and expand access to those who can benefit the most. Lifeline was created nearly 40 years ago with the aim of providing low-income households with low-cost landline telephony options. Now, nearly all U.S. households have telephone service and the Lifeline program plays an essential role in ensuring affordability.

The Importance and Effectiveness of the E-Rate Program

An important aspect of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society’s work has focused on schools and libraries. As far back as 1995, Benton published The Learning Connection: Schools in the Information Age, examining how educators were grappling with the difficult interplay of technological change and educational values.

The Importance of the Universal Service Fund

On July 27, 2023, the U.S. Senate's Universal Service Fund (USF) Working Group invited public comment on the future of the USF with the stated goal of creating a bipartisan forum to guide education, awareness, and policymaking on the USF. The opportunity to weigh in with the senators has had me thinking about the importance of the USF for bringing affordable broadband infrastructure and services to millions of people around the country. So I'm taking this opportunity to share my thoughts on one of the most important tools in our national effort to reach truly universal broadband.