Daily Digest 3/12/2024 (David Jay Bordwell)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents

Broadband Funding

Fact Sheet: The President’s Budget Lowers Costs for the American People  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  White House
     See alsoBiden Budget Seeks More Aid for Families, Higher Taxes on Wealthy Households, Corporations  |  Wall Street Journal
The Advantages of Equity Funding  |  Read below  |  Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting


Sens Cruz and Thune Unveil New Spectrum Pipeline Legislation to Spur Job Growth, Economic Prosperity  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Senate Commerce Committee
5G spectrum debate heats up ahead of Biden's implementation plan  |  Summary at Benton.org  |  Mike Dano  |  Light Reading

Kids & Media

How Teens and Parents Approach Screen Time  |  Read below  |  Monica Anderson, Michelle Faverio, Eugenie Park  |  Research  |  Pew Research Center

Platforms/Social Media

The U.S. considers another TikTok ban. Here’s what the bill does.  |  Washington Post
House to Move Ahead With Bill Targeting TikTok as Trump Flips to Oppose It  |  New York Times
Editorial | A House bill to force the social-media site from Beijing’s control deserves support.  |  Wall Street Journal
Josh Rogin | Trump’s TikTok reversal suggests his China policy is for sale  |  Washington Post
Trump asked Elon Musk if he wanted to buy Truth Social  |  Washington Post
Telegram: social media giant or the new ‘dark web’?  |  Financial Times
Banks and Users Warn of Scammers on Facebook Marketplace  |  Wall Street Journal

Artificial Intelligence

A.I. Is Learning What It Means to Be Alive  |  New York Times
How the A.I. That Drives ChatGPT Will Move Into the Physical World  |  New York Times

4 Years Ago

March 11, 2020: The Fourth Anniversary of the Covid Pandemic  |  New York Times


Chairwoman Rosenworcel Announces Members of Intergovernmental Advisory Committee  |  Read below  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission
Presenting the 2024 Digital Equity Champions!  |  Read below  |  Pamela Rosales  |  Press Release  |  National Digital Inclusion Alliance
Today's Top Stories

Fact Sheet: The President’s Budget Lowers Costs for the American People

Press Release  |  White House

President Biden is fighting to lower costs for American families and has made lowering costs his top domestic priority. From the first days of the Administration, the President has moved swiftly to deliver results for the American people and grow the economy from the middle out and bottom up. The President is committed to ensuring that every American has access to affordable broadband internet—and thanks to his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Affordable Connectivity Program has provided high-speed Internet service to over 23 million eligible low income households at low or no cost; the Department of Commerce has allocated nearly $42 billion in Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program funding to deploy reliable high-speed Internet service; and USDA investments are expected to expand broadband access to more than 137,000 households. Building on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, the Budget provides $112 million for USDA’s ReConnect program, which provides grants and loans to deploy broadband to unserved areas, especially tribal areas. The Budget also includes the Administration’s pending supplemental request for $6 billion to continue the Affordable Connectivity Program in 2024, and the Administration will work with the Congress to secure additional funding for this important need in 2025 and beyond.

The Advantages of Equity Funding

Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting

A large majority of internet service providers seeking BEAD grants will be financing matching funds using loans. Matching funds are the contributions expected from providers—a 75 percent grant means 25 percent in matching funds. Very few providers carry enough cash on hand to consider using equity to pay for broadband expansion. This contrasts significantly with large telephone and cable companies that will be pursuing BEAD grants, most of whom will finance grants using equity. When it comes to financing using equity vs using loans, equity is the clear winner for the provider. A provider that uses debt to finance its matching funds will take many years to break even, while a provider that uses equity will save millions on debt payments and accumulate far more cash. Moreover, a provider using equity can win the BEAD grant by accepting less than a 75 percent grant. A provider using loans, on the other hand, would lose money every year if it accepted less than a 75 percent grant. This gives the large providers another leg up in the BEAD process.

Sens Cruz and Thune Unveil New Spectrum Pipeline Legislation to Spur Job Growth, Economic Prosperity

Press Release  |  Senate Commerce Committee

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD) unveiled legislation to expand commercial access to mid-band spectrum. Ahead of the expiration of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) spectrum auction authority in March 2022, Sens. Cruz and Thune released a statement “committing to developing a spectrum proposal that achieves the greatest value possible for American taxpayers while protecting our national security interests.” Introduction of the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2024 follows a year-long effort to develop legislation that accomplishes those goals. Specifically, the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2024 will protect American taxpayers and prioritize national security by:

  1. Identifying spectrum: Requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to identify at least 2,500 megahertz of mid-band spectrum that can be reallocated from Federal use to non-Federal or shared use in the next 5 years (including at least 1,250 megahertz in the next 2 years);
  2. Renewing the FCC’s auction authority: Renews the FCC’s auction authority, which expired in March 2023, and requires the FCC to auction at least 1,250 megahertz of spectrum for full-power commercial wireless services, including 5G, within 6 years (including at least 600 megahertz within 3 years);
  3. Promoting unlicensed innovation: Expands the United States’ leading role in unlicensed innovation by requiring the FCC to allocate at least 125 megahertz of additional spectrum for unlicensed services
  4. Ensuring remaining spectrum can be licensed or unlicensed: Provides further opportunity for technology-neutral innovation in the remaining 1,125 megahertz of remaining spectrum identified by NTIA for commercial services;
  5. Creating new reporting requirements: Ensures effective oversight by requiring the FCC and NTIA to submit to Congress annual progress reports as well as reports within 60 days of each identification made by NTIA;
  6. Upgrading federal system: Removes a limitation in current law to allow federal agencies to purchase new state-of-the-art equipment using spectrum auction proceeds.

How Teens and Parents Approach Screen Time

Monica Anderson, Michelle Faverio, Eugenie Park  |  Research  |  Pew Research Center

Today’s teenagers are more digitally connected than ever. Most have access to smartphones and use social media, and nearly half say they are online almost constantly. But how are young people navigating this “always on” environment? To better understand their experiences, we surveyed both teens and parents on a range of screen time-related topics. Our questions explored the emotions teens tie to their devices, the impact of smartphones on youth, and the challenges parents face when raising children in the digital age. Key findings from the survey include:

  • Phone-less: 72 percent of U.S. teens say they often or sometimes feel peaceful when they don’t have their smartphone; 44 percent say it makes them feel anxious.
  • Good for hobbies, less so for socialization: 69 percent of teens say smartphones make it easier for youth to pursue hobbies and interests; fewer (30 percent) say it helps people their age learn good social skills.
  • Parental snooping: Half of parents say they have looked through their teen’s phone.
  • Smartphone standoffs: About four-in-ten parents and teens report regularly arguing with one another about time spent on their phone.
  • Distracted parenting: Nearly half of teens (46 percent) say their parent is at least sometimes distracted by their phone when they’re trying to talk to them.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel Announces Members of Intergovernmental Advisory Committee

Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the new members of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee.  This advisory panel provides guidance, expertise, and recommendations to the FCC on telecommunications issues affecting local, county, state and Tribal governments.  The Committee is comprised of elected officials of municipal, county, state, and Tribal governments.  It is an official advisory committee made up of members appointed by the Chairwoman who, together as a body, make recommendations to the Commission on issues related to increasing deployment and adoption of broadband services and any other task necessary to help local, state, and Tribal government officials clarify or explain Commission rules and policies to their constituents and other members of the public. Members of the IAC include Chair Garlin Gilchrist II, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, and Vice Chair Marshall Pierite, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. [see full list of members at the link below]

Presenting the 2024 Digital Equity Champions!

Pamela Rosales  |  Press Release  |  National Digital Inclusion Alliance

One of Net Inclusion’s cherished traditions is presenting the recipients of the prestigious Charles Benton Digital Equity Award. Named for Charles Benton, the founder of Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) created the awards to recognize leadership and dedication in advancing digital equity. Since NDIA’s creation of the award in 2016, we have recognized 15 Digital Equity Champions, and we are thrilled to welcome this year’s remarkable awardees:

  • 2024 Digital Equity Champion – Emerging Leader: Karimullah Kamwar, Digital Empowerment Manager, Syracuse Northeast Community Center - Karim brought his wife and five children from Afghanistan to settle in Syracuse. Within one year, he became the manager of the Digital Empower Program with the Syracuse Northeast Community Center. Under his leadership, the Syracuse Northeast Community Center built an inclusive multicultural team including four Digital Navigators. He has integrated this work with other essential services offered through the community center—such as a food pantry, employment program, youth/senior program, and health connections—in order to build true self-reliance.
  • 2024 Digital Equity Champion: Norma E. Fernandez, CEO, EveryoneOn - Norma became CEO of EveryoneOn in late 2019 and found herself leading the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, she grew and diversified the board and staff, created a strategic framework, and oversaw the implementation of the organization’s first-ever Digital Skills Academy, a training program for individuals and organizations. This has resulted in more funds raised from diverse sources, new partnerships, and expansion in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Milwaukee. 
  • 2024 Digital Equity Champion: Adrienne Pruszynski, Founder & Program Director, Renaissance 21 - Adrienne has been a Digital Equity and Inclusion Warrior for more than 15 years, working to close STEM/STEAM equity gaps for youth at the grassroots level from Seattle to Ecuador. She is one of the three founders of Renaissance 21, and is a founder and Program Director of the lead initiative Star Tech Global Academy (STGA).  

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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), Grace Tepper (grace AT benton DOT org), and Zoe Walker (zwalker AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

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