Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Headlines Daily Digest
Government & Communications
Stories From Abroad
This report examines (1) challenges lower-income school-age children who lack in-home fixed internet face in doing homework involving internet access, and (2) selected school district efforts to expand wireless access for students and the federal role in those efforts. GAO analyzed 2017 CPS data; reviewed six local projects that were selected based in part on education industry stakeholders’ recommendations, that included a range of geographic locations, and that took steps to address the homework gap; compared FCC efforts to federal standards for internal controls and pilot-program design best practices; reviewed FCC and Department of Education documents; and interviewed 17 stakeholders, including school districts.
GAO recommends that FCC take steps to assess and publish the potential benefits, costs, and challenges of making off-premises wireless access eligible for E-rate support. FCC agreed with GAO’s recommendation.
A problem could lead to the undercounting of the population of the United States, which would affect how billions in federal funds are distributed. It involves broadband. For the first time in our history, the US census will prioritize collecting responses online. In practice, this means that most households will get a letter in the mail directing them to fill out a form on a website. For households that do not respond, letters with paper forms may follow, and a census taker could eventually be sent to collect the data in person. But in light of the effort to increase internet responses, there will be a reduced effort to call on homes, knock on doors, and get responses in the mail. In fact, the Census Bureau has planned to hire 125,000 fewer staff members than during the last go-around 10 years ago, because it is counting on this online effort, in conjunction with local resources, to secure participation.
The constitutional challenge of surveying the United States for the census is daunting. What we choose to ask can have real consequences for participation, as discussion over the citizenship question suggests. But how we choose to ask is also important. The digital age has not reached everyone everywhere. Our duty is to count every person, whether or not they have access to or can afford the internet. If we’re not careful, we run the risk of having those who lack a connection cut off from the count.
[Jessica Rosenworcel is a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission]
Four years ago, technology companies were widely seen as having a positive impact on the United States. But the share of Americans who hold this view has tumbled 21 percentage points since then, from 71% to 50%. Negative views of technology companies’ impact on the country have nearly doubled during this period, from 17% to 33%, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Nearly one-in-five (18%) now volunteer their impact has been neither positive nor negative or that it is mixed, or they offer no opinion.
There are substantial partisan differences in these views, but the gap between Democrats and Republicans is relatively modest when it comes to technology companies: Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are 10 percentage points more likely than Republicans and GOP leaners to say these firms have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country (54% vs. 44%). Since 2015, there have been similar declines in positive views among members of both parties.
PBS has secured carriage for its member stations on YouTube TV’s live TV and on-demand subscription service. Launching later in 2019, YouTube TV will livestream all PBS member stations that choose to participate.This is the first digital partnership of its kind for PBS and represents an important step as PBS expands its digital footprint to engage viewers where, when and how they consume content. In addition to the live channels for PBS and PBS KIDS, YouTube TV subscribers can access this content through YouTube TV’s VOD service and its DVR service with no storage space limits.
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 Robbie McBeath (rmcbeath AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.
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