New America

Reimagining digital equity to meet student needs

We need to shift the narrative around digital equity. Top of mind for many participants were the very ways we talk about and define digital equity—and how it shapes and sustains the larger systemic challenges we see play out in school systems. Inequitable funding formulas, digital redlining, and biased, eurocentric curriculum, for example, all contribute incrementally to inequitable educational experiences.

New America Releases a New Toolkit to Gather Insights from Under-Connected Families

Do you have concerns about whether students and families in your community or school have adequate, consistent access to the internet and digital devices?

5G’s Big Equity Problem

The conversation around 5G usually fails to address how it will likely exacerbate the already deep digital divide.

Does Data Privacy Need its Own Agency?

If Congress passes comprehensive privacy legislation, it will need to delegate a federal agency to enforce the law and conduct rulemaking. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has used its general consumer protection authority to bring enforcement actions against companies violating user privacy, and has therefore been considered the de facto privacy agency. However, three bills have challenged this assumption and would create a new agency to enforce privacy law rather than relying on the FTC. This report compares the new agencies in three legislative proposals to one another and to the FTC.

OTI Statement on Flawed US Telecom Report

Today’s USTelecom report is the latest in a spate of flawed and deeply conflicted research from internet service providers on the price of their own service. It is curious that USTelecom would rely on third-party surveys rather than get the pricing data directly from its ISP members. If internet service is as affordable as USTelecom claims, ISPs could prove it by disclosing their pricing data to the Federal Communications Commission.

How to Close America's Digital Equity Gaps: Toward a Digital Futures Foundation

Is our practice of dumping the proceeds from the privatization of the public airwaves into the federal treasury, as is now routinely done, the best use of this precious public resource? No. The nation should dedicate a sizable share of spectrum auction proceeds to closing these digital equity gaps and should establish a reliable, proven vehicle to pursue this task. An endowed, independent, and private charitable foundation would best have the flexibility, research focus, long-term time perspective, and ability to engage other partners that such a mission will require.

Use It or Share It

This report updates and expands on a paper the author presented nearly a decade ago at the Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC), which predated the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption of a use-it-or-share-it approach in several underutilized bands. These use-it-or-share-it precedents should pave the way to an authorization of opportunistic access as the default policy for a growing number of underutilized and newly allocated or auctioned bands, both federal and commercial.

Public Libraries and the Pandemic: Digital Shifts and Disparities to Overcome

In the fall and winter of 2020, New America embarked on a snapshot study to gather data on how—or if—people were discovering, accessing, and using their public libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on materials that libraries made available online. Our findings, which include data from a national survey of 2,620 people, highlight the need for more inclusivity, more focus on providing internet access, and more awareness-raising initiatives with local organizations and schools.

OTI to FCC: Make the Emergency Broadband Benefit a ‘Rapid Success’

New America's Open Technology Institute urged the Federal Communications Commission to quickly and successfully implement the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new subsidy to help low-income people pay for broadband service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide $50 per month to qualifying low-income households and $75 in Tribal areas. OTI’s comments made the following recommendations: