Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Developing Digital Equity Solutions in Vermont

The Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) asserts that connectivity has become integral to everyday activities from regular social interactions and access to media to participating in school or pursuing a career, responding to emergencies, improving farming efficiency and agricultural output, and combatting climate change. VCBB  released its draft Digital Equity Plan to ensure all Vermonters can take advantage of the benefits of this connectivity.

Setting the Extremely High Cost Per Location Threshold for BEAD

Over the last 18 months, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) struck the right balance in urging states to extend fiber as far as possible when implementing the $40+ billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program. With all due respect to those who are passionate about their respective point of view—it’s time to step back and take a deep breath.

Deployment Alone Does Not Tell the Full Story of the Digital Divide

How should broadband adoption, affordability, and equity impact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s assessment of the availability of broadband for all Americans? A review of recent research indicates that it is not enough for networks to meet just certain deployment benchmarks. Consumer behavior is part of the picture: We cannot reach our universal broadband goals without widespread adoption, and we cannot achieve universal broadband adoption if service is not affordable.

Working Towards Digital Equity in DC

Growth, equity, education, workforce opportunities, access to government services, and sustainability. Each of these values—and many of the actions that can be taken to achieve them—can be enhanced by equitable access to high-speed internet, and a population equipped with the digital skills to productively use computers and the internet.

ACP Uptake is Strongest in Places Where It's Needed Most

Earlier this month, we released an updated version of the Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollment Performance Tool, with data current through October 2023, the most recent dataset the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has posted on ACP enrollment. The downloadable USAC dataset shows that 21.6 million households had enrolled in the program through October 2023.

Researching Digital Equity: With People, For People

In October, the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Kansas City convened the first-ever Digital Inclusion Research Forum (DIRF), bringing together researchers and practitioners to highlight the latest in digital inclusion research, emerging methodologies, and best practices in the sector. In order to access the broadband funding made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), all states have to develop plans for how they will use these funds to build broadband networks and achieve digital equity.

Oregon's Plan for Meaningful Broadband Access

The Oregon Broadband Office (OBO) released the state's draft Digital Equity Plan for public comment.

Benton Institute Salutes Louisiana's Broadband Leadership

A few short years ago, many might have thought that universal broadband in Louisiana was an impossible dream. But the leadership of Veneeth Iyengar and the state’s partnership with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is making the impossible possible. Louisiana is on a path to closing its digital divide. We hope that other states will follow Louisiana’s example and get this job done.

Benton Welcomes Circuit Court Decision that Underscores the Importance and the Validity of the Universal Service Fund

"The USF is a critical tool to provide, among other things, Lifeline internet and voice service to low-income Americans, and reduced-rate internet access to schools, libraries and healthcare providers. Today's opinion underscores the importance—and the validity—of the Congressionally-mandated USF program.

Massachusetts' Unified Vision of Digital Equity

Massachusetts is at a pivotal moment to drive transformative change in digital equity. Through a once-in-a-generation federal funding investment, the Commonwealth has an unprecedented opportunity to achieve its strategic goals and unlock meaningful economic potential for all residents. In November 2023, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) shared its Massachusetts State Digital Equity Plan for public comment. Public input is welcome through Friday, December 15, 2023.