Press Release

State of Illinois Announces Illinois Connected Communities Grants to Assist Communities with Expanding Broadband access and use

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband announced the new Illinois Connected Communities grant program designed to assist local governments, schools, and community organizations with building broadband capacity.

Chairman Pai Extends Keep Americans Connected Pledge Through June 30

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced the extension of his Keep Americans Connected Pledge until June 30, 2020. While the FCC encourages all providers that have signed the pledge previously to extend their commitments to June 30, we understand that some providers, particularly those in small markets and rural areas, may not be able to do so as a result of financial challenges. Those providers should contact [email protected] by May 12 if they wish to opt out of the extension.

New Data Shows Digital Divide Closing & Broadband Competition Rising

The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) released updated data showing that from December 2016 to December 2018, the number of Americans without any options for at least 250/25 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service plummeted by 74%, from 181.7 million to 47 million. And during that same time period, the number of Americans with no options for at least 25/3 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service fell by 30%, from 26.1 million to 18.3 million.

Google and YouTube Will Pay Record $170 Million for Alleged Violations of Children’s Privacy Law

Google and its subsidiary YouTube will pay a record $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that the YouTube video sharing service illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

Justice Department Settles with T-Mobile and Sprint in Their Proposed Merger by Requiring a Package of Divestitures to Dish

The Department of Justice announced that it and the Attorneys General for five states reached a settlement with T-Mobile and Sprint regarding their proposed merger. The settlement requires a substantial divestiture package in order to enable a viable facilities-based competitor to enter the market. Further, the settlement will facilitate the expeditious deployment of multiple high-quality 5G networks for the benefit of American consumers and entrepreneurs.

Chairman Pai Statement on T-Mobile/Sprint Transaction

Two of the Federal Communications Commission’s top priorities are closing the digital divide in rural America and advancing United States leadership in 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity. The commitments made today by T-Mobile and Sprint would substantially advance each of these critical objectives.

When we say we’ll do something, we mean it!: T-Mobile CEO Lays Out Merger Concessions

As we’ve made our case for the New T-Mobile, we’ve been listening to the Federal Communications Commission and many others. We submitted a set of commitments to the FCC around the New T-Mobile to address what we’ve heard. Ultimately, the commitments are about our shared goal to put the US at the forefront of 5G innovation, driving massive economic growth, helping bridge the Digital Divide, creating more competition, and of course, giving consumers and businesses more for less.

Why is the FCC Talking about a USF Cap?

The Benton Foundation unequivocally opposes any proposals from the Federal Communications Commission that would allow the FCC to shirk its responsibilities to meet its Congressionally-mandated mission. The FCC is supposed to ensure:

Two Researchers Join Benton Team

Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss announced that Dr. Christopher Ali is the foundation’s new Faculty Research Fellow and Dr. Ryland Sherman is Benton’s new Research Associate. As the Benton Faculty Research Fellow, Dr. Ali will continue his work on a systematic and comprehensive assessment of rural broadband policy, technology, markets, and stakeholders.

Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Joins Benton Foundation

Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss announced that former Federal Communications Commissioner and Acting Chair Mignon L. Clyburn has joined the foundation’s Board of Directors effective January 1, 2019. 

Nominated by President Barack Obama, Clyburn served as an FCC Commissioner from August 2009 until June 2018, and as Acting FCC Chair from May 20, 2013 through November 4, 2013. While at the FCC, Clyburn was a champion of diversity in media ownership, an advocate for the reform of Inmate Calling Services, and a staunch defender of a free and open internet.