Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Building Blocks for a National Broadband Agenda

In the next decade, everyone in America should be able to use High-Performance Broadband.

Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s

The purpose of Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s is to collect, combine, and contribute to a national broadband agenda for the next decade, enlisting the voices of broadband leaders in an ongoing discussion on how public policy can close the digital divide and extend digital opportunity everywhere. Leaders at all levels of government should ensure that everyone is able to use High-Performance Broadband in the next decade by embracing the following building blocks of policy:

Is the FCC Asking the Right Questions About Broadband Deployment?

On October 23, the Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI), launching its annual review to determine if broadband is reaching all Americans in a timely fashion.  Finding in the negative, the FCC must take immediate action to accelerate broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market. Over the next seven weeks, the FCC will collect public input to help guide its analysis.

Investment in Broadband Infrastructure Can Create Cost Savings and Community Self-Empowerment

Building new broadband infrastructure is a big investment for any municipality. While the cost of that investment shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s equally important to consider the significant cost savings that can be reaped with publicly owned infrastructure. Many cities have slashed the cost of connecting their schools to broadband by opting to build their own infrastructure, instead of continuing to pay a private provider for connections. Portland (OR), for example, had been paying an incumbent provider $1,310 per month for  10 Mbps connections to schools.

Mark Zuckerberg and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day on Capitol Hill

Sixty different politicians had five minutes each to grill Zuckerberg about whatever they wanted, and they jumped at the opportunity to try and test him. Congress came across as prepared, serious, and thoughtful. While the hearing was supposed to be about Facebook’s push to create a new digital currency called Libra, about half of the back and forth centered on other topics, from its controversial political ads policy to Facebook’s record on diversity to particular congresspeople’s pet

News (Of Sorts) From the FCC

Two stories from the Federal Communications Commission caught our eye this week. One gained lots of headlines. The second is a bit of inside baseball but could turn out to be big news down the line. Both impact the deployment of broadband and closing the digital divide. FCC commissioners have voted to approve T-Mobile's acquisition of Sprint.

Connecting Communities with High-Performance Broadband

Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve formulated three basic broadband principles for community anchor institution policy.

Engagement on Equity: Connectivity and the Future of Healthcare

Bridging the digital divide can help address our nation’s persistent health disparities. Rural Americans not only face limited access to health-care facilities, but “suffer from higher rates of obesity, mental health issues, diabetes, cancer, and opioid addiction.” But the tie that also binds is the lack of high-speed broadband connectivity in low-income communities, too. Rural America, as you know, is facing a physician shortage and low-income and rural populations are less likely to have choice when it comes to broadband providers.