Benton Foundation

Too uneducated to understand the importance of home Internet?

In their recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post, “Cities, not rural areas, are the real Internet deserts,” authors Blair Levin and Larry Downes argue that the digital divide in cities persists because uneducated people do not understand the importance, or “relevance,” of the internet in their everyday lives.

Media, Government, Us

The media merger pot keeps boiling. It appears that the Federal Communications Commission is about to approve another damaging deal, this one between Nexstar and Tribune. Nextar owns 171 television stations in 100 markets and Tribune has 44 stations in 33 markets. That translates into a national audience reach of 72 percent of U.S.

Basic Broadband for "Homes" on Tribal Lands

Sacred Wind Communications was founded on the premise of “serving the unserved,” given the technological void that envelopes so many tribal communities in New Mexico. While the company continues to expand its broadband deployment initiatives among tribal communities in New Mexico, it still faces an uphill battle when trying to balance high infrastructure buildout costs with high consumer demand, particularly in remote Navajo communities.

An Engineer’s View of the Department of Justice’s T-Mobile/Sprint/DISH Strategy

To address the loss of a mobile communications competitor that will result from the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed a solution that seeks to enable DISH Network to emerge as a fourth national facilities-based wireless carrier. From an engineering perspective, however, DOJ’s approach to enabling DISH’s deployment is not guaranteed to prove adequate to maintain competition comparable to that currently offered over Sprint’s network.

How Do We Measure Broadband?

Measuring broadband is an ongoing challenge for policymakers and, for many participants in broadband policy debates, often a source of frustration. The frustration about broadband measurement emanates from what seems knowable – at least it is about other infrastructure. We know where our roads and highways run. Today it is easy to know when they are clogged, where there are tolls, and how much those tolls cost. Electric infrastructure is essentially ubiquitous and it isn’t hard, in most places, to find out the cost of a kilowatt hour and compare prices among providers.

A Preview of the FCC's July Open Meeting: Taking the "E" Out of EBS and TV

Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the agenda for the Federal Communications Commission's July 10 Open Meeting, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid out in a blog post on June 18, 2019. I'm traveling to New York this week; below is a shorter-than-usual weekly that takes a look at how Chairman Pai plans to take education out of the Educational Broadband Service -- and broadcast television.

Nothing is Normal About the T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Review

Last week, ten state attorneys general filed a lawsuit challenging the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint in a federal district court in New York. While it might not seem unusual for state officials tasked with enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws to seek to halt the 4-to-3 horizontal merger of two of the nation’s mobile wireless companies, that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice did not join the lawsuit was extraordinary.

The Ability to Pay for Broadband

According to recent National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) survey data, roughly 28 million households in the United States still do not use the Internet at home (Goldberg, 2019). In its survey, the NTIA also asked why households did not use the Internet at home, with 58 percent citing a lack of interest as their main reason for being offline and every fifth household (21%) stating that it is too expensive.

FCC Proposes Capping Fund Used to Close the Digital Divide

On Friday, May 31, the Federal Communications Commission launched a proceeding to seek comment on establishing an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF). USF programs provide subsidies that make telecommunications and broadband services more available and affordable for millions of Americans. The NPRM asks a lot of questions over how to cap the programs. But a crucial one we ask: Does this NPRM actually move the U.S. closer to closing the digital divide?

FCC, Again, Finds Broadband Being Deployed on a Reasonable and Timely Basis

On May 29, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission released the 2019 Broadband Deployment Report. For the second consecutive year, the FCC concluded that broadband is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to report annually on the availability of advanced telecommunications capability (broadband) to all Americans and to determine if broadband services are being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.