The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill, the Broadband DATA Act, aimed at improving the Federal Communications Commission’s data collection process for broadband mapping. Since the bill has already passed the Senate, but will return due to procedural reasons, we will likely see the Senate pass this bill soon and then send it to the President’s desk for a signature. The bill reflects bipartisan agreement that we need more accurate broadband maps, and Public Knowledge supports legislation to fix inaccurate mapping.
Historically, privacy was about protecting aspects of your life from being shared with people in your life you didn’t want to know that information. The use of data to manipulate me into purchasing something I don’t need is a very different kind of harm than the old privacy concerns about unwanted disclosure. In the context of corporate data collection, a continued focus on unwanted disclosure is only a small piece of the puzzle.
In a surprise move, between the publication of the draft Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Report and Order and the Federal Communications Commission’s final vote on the Report and Order, the FCC added the line stating that census blocks receiving “funding through other similar federal or state broadband subsidy programs” would be ineligible for Phase I RDOF funds.
Public Knowledge filed comments and reply comments urging the Federal Communications Commission to increase its current broadband benchmark speed to at least 100 Mbps downstream based on evidence that American consumers already are using those speeds and many consumers are adopting even higher speeds. Since those comments were filed, more information has been released from the FCC and other third-party sources that support increasing the FCC's broadband benchmark speed from 25/3 Mbps.
In his dissenting statement, Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks objected to a sentence included since the initial draft of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order. The Starks dissent states: “The version of the Order now before us excludes from RDOF any area that the Commission ‘know[s] to be awarded funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program or other similar federal or state broadband subsidy programs, or those subject to enforceable broadband deployment obligations.’” (emphasis in original)
Public Knowledge, Common Cause, New America’s Open Technology Institute, et al. met with Federal Communications Commission Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and Analytics staff on January 16, 2020, to express concern regarding the methodology, analysis, and conclusions in the Fifteenth Broadband Deployment Report Notice of Inquiry. They disagreed with the FCC’s conclusions in its two prior broadband deployment reports that broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely fashion.
Two Years Later, Broadband Providers Are Still Taking Advantage of An Internet Without Net Neutrality Protections
This December 2019 marks the two-year anniversary of the Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order and the agency’s net neutrality consumer protections.
Public Interest Groups Urge Congress to Hold the FCC Accountable for America’s Degrading Telephone Network
Public Knowledge joined 23 other public interest, civil rights, tribal, and rural advocacy groups (including the Benton Institute) in a letter urging the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to require Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai to address public safety concerns about America’s increasingly fragile and unreliable communications network.