Daily Digest 11/18/2022 (Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents


House Passes Ensuring Phone and Internet Access Through Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program Act of 2022  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  House Commerce Committee
House Passes Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act  |  House Commerce Committee

News From the FCC Meeting

FCC Requires Broadband Providers To Display Labels to Help Consumers  |  Read below  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Updates Rules To Improve 911 Reliability  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Denies Petition For Reconsideration And Application For Review In Pole Attachment Proceeding  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC Amends Rules To Facilitate Upcoming Broadcast Station Carriage Elections  |  Federal Communications Commission

Also see: What Local Leaders Need to Know about the FCC’s ACP Outreach Grants  |  Next Century Cities

Broadband Funding

Biden-Harris Administration Commits More Than $224 Million in High-Speed Internet Grants for Tribal Lands  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Data & Maps

Improved broadband maps to deliver more connectivity  |  Read below  |  Michael O'Rielly  |  Op-Ed  |  Hill, The

State/Local Initiatives

Benton Foundation
Island Institute’s Rural Community Engagement Amplifies Maine’s Broadband Efforts  |  Read below  |  Adrianne Furniss  |  Analysis  |  Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Defeating the Digital Divide: How Chicago Can Achieve True Digital Equity  |  Read below  |  Research  |  Kids First Chicago
Crosstown Fiber Has Big Fiber Plans for the Chicago Region  |  Read below  |  Phil Britt  |  telecompetitor
TDS’ Wisconsin expansion plans grow; now includes Whitewater, Manitowoc  |  TDS Telecommunications
LA County Rewards ‘The Company We Will Not Name’ that Created the Digital Divide.  |  Bruce Kushnick


Sen Markey and Rep Eshoo Introduce the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  US Senate

Broadband Infrastructure

AT&T: Fiber offers 'meaningful uplift' in wireless penetration  |  Read below  |  Masha Abarinova  |  Fierce


The FBI alleges TikTok poses national security concerns  |  NPR

Platforms/Social Media

The Rising Threat of Domestic Terrorism: A Review of the Federal Response to Domestic Terrorism and the Spread of Extremist Content on Social Media  |  Read below  |  Research  |  Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

Senators Urge FTC to Investigate Twitter  |  US Senate

Misinformation threatens Twitter's function as a public safety tool  |  National Public Radio

Resignations Roil Twitter as Elon Musk Tries Persuading Some Workers to Stay  |  New York Times

Musk says he expects to find a new Twitter CEO “over time”  |  Associated Press

Marlee Matlin Condemns Elon Musk for Cutting Twitter’s Accessibility Team: ‘Why Would You Do This?’  |  Wrap, The

Meta Employees, Security Guards Fired for Hijacking User Accounts  |  Wall Street Journal

Facebook still banning Trump — for now — despite campaign  |  Associated Press

Charlie Warzel: What Do We Lose If We Lose Twitter?  |  Atlantic, The


What’s the deal with telecom layoffs?  |  Fierce

SpaceX Employees Say They Were Fired for Speaking Up About Elon Musk  |  New York Times

Kids and Media

Advocates to FTC: Write rules to protect kids from harmful manipulative design online  |  Center for Digital Democracy


Benton Foundation
Elections Matter 2022  |  Read below  |  Kevin Taglang  |  Analysis  |  Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
A visual guide to Congress’s history-making freshman class  |  Washington Post
Reps Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn Step Aside as Top House Democrats  |  New York Times
Pelosi’s Decision to Step Aside Paves Path for a New Generation of Democrats  |  New York Times
The Only Certainty in Next Split Congress is Uncertainty, Experts Say  |  nextgov
Today's Top Stories


House Passes Ensuring Phone and Internet Access Through Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program Act of 2022

Press Release  |  House Commerce Committee

By a vote of 381-39, the House passed the Ensuring Phone and Internet Access Through Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program Act of 2022 (H.R. 4275). Introduced by Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA) and John Katko (R-NY), the legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission to annually submit a report to Congress regarding the number of households that qualify for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program through automatic qualifying programs set forth in statute and regulations. The legislation also requires the Government Accountability Office to study and report on outreach and publicity efforts to promote enrollment in Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program. 

News From FCC Meeting

FCC Requires Broadband Providers To Display Labels to Help Consumers

Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission unveiled new rules that will, for the first time, require broadband providers to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to comparison shop for broadband services. The Report and Order creates rules that require broadband providers to display, at the point of sale, labels that show key information consumers want−prices, speeds, fees, data allowances, and other critical information. The labels resemble the well-known nutrition labels that appear on food products. The FCC also sought comment on ways it can enhance the newly-adopted label in the future, including different ways to display broadband performance information. The new broadband labels will empower consumers with several features including:

  • Prominent Display. The Order ensures that consumers see their actual label when purchasing broadband by requiring providers to display the label – not simply an icon or link to the label – in close proximity to an associated plan advertisement.
  • Account Portals. The Order requires ISPs to make each customer’s label easily accessible to the customer in their online account portal, as well as to provide the label to an existing customer upon request.
  • Machine Readability. To further assist with comparison shopping, the Order requires that providers make the information in the labels machine-readable to enable third parties to more easily collect and aggregate data for the purpose of creating comparison-shopping tools for consumers.
  • Further Refinements. The FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on ways that it can further refine and improve its rules in order to ensure that we further our consumer transparency goals.

The Report and Order also includes a template of the required label. To ensure the label benefits all consumers, the FCC adopted language and accessibility requirements for the label’s display.

FCC Updates Rules To Improve 911 Reliability

Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to promote public safety by ensuring that 911 call centers receive timely and useful notifications of network disruptions that affect 911 service. These notifications will help 911 call centers maintain emergency services and inform the public when to use alternatives to call 911. The updated rules will standardize the type of information conveyed in the notifications and ensure that it is clear and actionable, regardless of where in the call processing network an outage occurs. The updated rules also require service providers to maintain up-to-date contact information for the 911 call centers they serve. In addition, the FCC retained its current requirement that covered 911 service providers file annual 911 reliability certifications, which will help the FCC promote the continuity of 911 service during the transition to Next Generation 911.

FCC Denies Petition For Reconsideration And Application For Review In Pole Attachment Proceeding

Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission denied a petition for reconsideration filed by Duke Energy Progress and an application for review filed by AT&T in a dispute over rates for attaching to utility poles. Section 224 of the Communications Act of 1934 grants the FCC broad authority to regulate rates for attachments to utility-owned poles and ensure nondiscriminatory access to their poles to telecommunications carriers and cable television systems. AT&T and Duke are parties to a Joint Use Agreement (JUA) that contains the rates, terms, and conditions for each party’s use of the other’s utility poles. The new order upholds the Enforcement Bureau’s September 2021 order that found the rates AT&T paid under the JUA were “unjust and unreasonable” and orders Duke to charge a lower rate in compliance with the Commission’s 2011 and 2018 pole attachment orders. However, based on certain advantages provided to AT&T under the JUA, today’s order denies AT&T’s claim that it is entitled to the lower rate that other communications attachers pay to use Duke poles. The FCC also grants AT&T’s request to clarify that the parties only need to amend the JUA in response to the rulings in this matter rather than negotiate an entirely new agreement.


Biden-Harris Administration Commits More Than $224 Million in High-Speed Internet Grants for Tribal Lands

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded 18 grants as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP). These new grants, totaling $224,479,717.83, bring the total of the program to $1.5 billion awarded to 112 Tribal entities. With funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), these grants will expand high-speed Internet network deployment and digital skills training to improve access to education, jobs, and healthcare on Tribal lands. Tribes in 11 states received grants – Alaska, Arizona, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, South Dakota, and Virginia. The projects funded by these awards will directly connect 21,468 unserved Native American households that previously had no connectivity to high-speed Internet as well as businesses and anchor institutions. Additionally, the 18 grants will create 137 new jobs.


Improved broadband maps to deliver more connectivity

Michael O'Rielly  |  Op-Ed  |  Hill, The

The Federal Communications Commission will unveil the first draft of new, dramatically improved national broadband availability maps. Like almost every map ever made, they’re far from perfect — and new first drafts, by definition, rarely are — but these maps represent an enormously enhanced step toward the longstanding bipartisan goal of connectivity for rural America. The maps’ rollout may draw a chorus of predictable nitpicking, but short-sighted complaints shouldn’t distract anyone from the real headline here: Federal and state broadband agencies will soon have a sharper image of our nation’s broadband needs than they did a week ago — much less two-plus years ago. And more progress is on the way, as cities, states, and broadband providers all start the labor-intensive work of checking for errors and correcting mistakes — a “challenge process” I strongly championed during my tenure at the FCC. That means the next iteration of these broadband maps, due around early April, will be even more accurate. After decades of relying on maps designed for other purposes, federal policymakers finally have the tools to shine a high-powered microscope on the immediate need: those remaining American families without broadband access. But this targeted approach only works if agencies and states have a clearer view of where availability gaps persist and where federal deployment subsidies are absolutely needed. That’s where the new maps come in. Older generations of FCC broadband maps didn’t offer the granular specificity this challenge demands. By contrast, the new maps measure availability down to the level of individual homes and businesses. I’m encouraged to see the FCC’s bipartisan commitment to collecting this stakeholder input. As long as the FCC maintains a relatively high standard for challenges — such as clear evidence of a service request being denied — and quick resolution procedures, these stakeholder challenges will help ensure the maps get more precise. For rural Americans waiting impatiently for their shot at fast, modern broadband service, the FCC’s new maps are an important step closer to getting infrastructure dollars into the communities where they’re most urgently needed.



Island Institute’s Rural Community Engagement Amplifies Maine’s Broadband Efforts

Adrianne Furniss  |  Analysis  |  Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

The Island Institute works to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities, helping them tackle pressing environmental and socioeconomic issues and lead as examples of sustainability. With a focus on developing resilient economies, this philanthropic institution works with community leaders to increase broadband expansion in rural areas. As the most rural state in the nation—with mountains, coasts, and islands—Maine faces a mighty economic challenge to connect every resident to reliable high-speed internet service. The Island Institute’s broadband team engages with community leaders through working groups, financial and economic trainings, and conferences, and via the facilitation of discussions between community members, local officials, and internet service providers. Through the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund, the Island Institute provides broadband planning grants to municipalities, local institutions, and nonprofits in Maine. After years of working with Maine’s rural communities, the Island Institute developed the Community-Driven Broadband Process to help guide community leaders through the steps for bringing broadband to their towns and residents. This process has guided more than 100 Maine communities as they began conversations around digital equity, and it has served as a model for 20 of those communities seeking fiber-to-the-home networks or infrastructure expansions through public-private partnerships.

Defeating the Digital Divide: How Chicago Can Achieve True Digital Equity

Research  |  Kids First Chicago

Our recommendations for addressing the three prongs of digital inequity – connectivity, device ownership, and access to training – will require a community-led “all hands on deck” approach. Each recommendation will require commitment from the public sector – including the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and/or the federal government – as well as our city’s private sector and broader civic community. Community anchor institutions – both government institutions like CPS and Chicago Public Library (CPL) – as well as community-based nonprofits, will play a critical role. Through planning, execution, sustained funding, and an abiding commitment to maintain momentum and realize this historic opportunity, the city of Chicago can become the first large urban city to eradicate the digital divide, unleashing the potential of all residents to thrive regardless of ZIP code.

  1. Connect All Chicagoans to Free or Low-cost High-speed Internet
  2. Close Chicago’s Device Gap
  3. Offer Free and Low-cost Digital Learning Resources That Meet Chicagoans’ Needs

Crosstown Fiber Has Big Fiber Plans for the Chicago Region

Phil Britt  |  telecompetitor

Chicago-based Crosstown Fiber aims to build, maintain, and operate a robust fiber network with a specific focus. The company will offer fiber infrastructure built below ground to provide unique routes and strategic alternative paths between data centers and other entities. Crosstown custom designs, builds, leases, and maintains high-capacity, high-bandwidth, dark fiber optic networks providing customers the ability to use a redundant ring structure with a network route spanning approximately 400 route miles across all corners of Chicago. Crosstown’s underground network is designed for customers who need access to resilient fiber pathways. The company will target school systems, large corporations, hyperscalers, and data center operators, small cell wireless carriers, content providers, as well as municipal and other government agencies. The company’s network will initially connect educational institutions to the city, providing them with unlimited bandwidth and transmission speed, access to a multitude of service providers, customer control of the network, security, optional redundancy capability, along with lower communications costs. The initial, three ring-backbone will be available by the end of 2022.


Sen Markey and Rep Eshoo Introduce the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CTVA)

Press Release  |  US Senate

Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), author of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), and Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D- CA-18) introduced the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA). The CVTA updates and amends the CVAA to keep pace with the proliferation of emerging technologies that have come online since Senator Markey’s 2010 bill was passed with bipartisan support and will ensure that people with disabilities have full access to the range of mainstream communication products and services that are necessary to participate equally in professional, educational, recreational, and civic contexts while laying a foundation for accessibility in future technologies. To address issues of digital accessibility, the CVTA would:

  • Improve and expand closed captioning and audio description standards for television programming and online video streaming platforms to ensure that people with disabilities have equitable access to the wide range of programming available to the general public;
  • Update current requirements to ensure viewers can easily activate and select preferred settings for closed captions and audio descriptions on their video programming devices, such as televisions, smartphones, laptops, and tablets;
  • Improve access to video programming for people who are deaf and use sign language;
  • Empower the Federal Communications Commission to ensure accessibility regulations keep pace with emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and augmented or virtual reality platforms.

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) are cosponsors.


AT&T: Fiber offers 'meaningful uplift' in wireless penetration

Masha Abarinova  |  Fierce

As AT&T continues ramping up its fiber business – reaching 18.5 million passings in Q3 – it aims to leverage its fiber strategy to grow wireless customers, according to CFO Pascal Desroches. “In 5-10 years from now I just don’t see consumers accepting anything other than fiber,” Desroches said. “Also I think the power 5G will bring will make wireless relationships even more valuable. And we are able to provide both with our owner’s economics.” When AT&T offers both fiber and 5G, it sees a “meaningful uplift” in its wireless penetration, Desroches added. Once customers get hooked on fiber service, it becomes “much easier to sell them on” wireless. “Having that and the perception that fiber brings for them a quality and consumer affinity is just extraordinary,” he said. “It’s a play we really believe in…the returns are much more attractive if you have both customers.” The operator previously stated it wants to reach 30 million fiber passings by 2025. Desroches noted AT&T is “penetrating very well” with its current fiber builds, echoing CEO John Stankey’s words on the company’s third-quarter earnings call. Desroches chalked up AT&T’s success with fiber to increased consumer awareness and a more hybrid workforce. AT&T is “more aggressively” targeting the small and mid-sized business market with its fiber offering.

Social Media

The Rising Threat of Domestic Terrorism: A Review of the Federal Response to Domestic Terrorism and the Spread of Extremist Content on Social Media

This report is a culmination of three years of investigation into domestic terrorism and the federal response. This report focuses on the rise in domestic terrorism, the federal response, the allocation of federal resources to addressing domestic terrorism, and the role of social media companies in the proliferation of extremist content. The expansion of social media has led to increased recruitment, dissemination, and coordination of domestic terrorist and extremist related activities. According to a National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses on Terrorism study, in 2016 alone, social media played a role in the radicalization process of perpetrators in over 90 percent of extremist plots or activities in the United States. Domestic terrorist groups use a range of social media platforms to recruit, communicate, train, and mobilize members, leading to the rapid expansion of potential threats. Extremist content proliferates on these platforms, despite rules against such content and moderation measures designed to remove the content. The First Amendment, the Privacy Act of 1974, Executive Order 1233, and agency specific guidance govern and rightfully limit how federal agencies use social media for law enforcement and intelligence purposes. Federal agencies are permitted to use social media within the bounds of civil rights and civil liberty restraints, but oversight entities have found that the federal government has not adequately utilized tools and resources to address domestic terrorist threats on social media. This report finds that social media companies have failed to meaningfully address the growing presence of extremism on their platforms. These companies’ business models are based on maximizing user engagement, growth, and profits, which incentivizes increasingly extreme content – and absent new incentives or regulation, extremist content will continue to proliferate and companies’ moderation practices will continue to be inadequate to stop its spread.


Elections Matter 2022

Kevin Taglang  |  Analysis  |  Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

As the dust settles on the 2022 midterm elections, we take a look at how members of the House and Senate Commerce Committees fared and who we can expect back when the 118th Congress convenes in January 2023.

Submit a Story

Benton (www.benton.org) provides the only free, reliable, and non-partisan daily digest that curates and distributes news related to universal broadband, while connecting communications, democracy, and public interest issues. Posted Monday through Friday, this service provides updates on important industry developments, policy issues, and other related news events. While the summaries are factually accurate, their sometimes informal tone may not always represent the tone of the original articles. Headlines are compiled by Kevin Taglang (headlines AT benton DOT org) and Grace Tepper (grace AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

© Benton Institute for Broadband & Society 2022. Redistribution of this email publication — both internally and externally — is encouraged if it includes this message. For subscribe/unsubscribe info email: headlines AT benton DOT org

Kevin Taglang

Kevin Taglang
Executive Editor, Communications-related Headlines
Benton Institute
for Broadband & Society
1041 Ridge Rd, Unit 214
Wilmette, IL 60091
headlines AT benton DOT org

Share this edition:

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society All Rights Reserved © 2022