Internet/Broadband

Coverage of how Internet service is deployed, used and regulated.

President Obama: The TPP would let America, not China, lead the way on global trade

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
3

As a Pacific power, the United States has pushed to develop a high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that puts American workers first and makes sure we write the rules of the road for trade in the 21st century. Let’s seize this opportunity, pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership and make sure America isn’t holding the bag, but holding the pen.

The government wants your fingerprint to unlock your phone. Should that be allowed?

Location:
Los Angeles, CA, United States
Recommendation:
3

How far can the government go to obtain biometric markers such as fingerprints and hair?

Sen Schumer wants probe into 'spying billboards'

Location:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20580, United States
Recommendation:
3

Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) is urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a billboard company that helps advertisers target customers by using location and shopping information from people’s mobile phones. Sen Schumer expressed concern that these “spying billboards” by the company Clear Channel Outdoor could be violating Americans’ privacy.

What do Americans want Congress to do about net neutrality?

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Federal Communications Commission’s latest attempt at Open Internet rules may soon be struck down in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Are so-called “bright-line” approaches even necessary and proven to ensure an Open Internet? And if the FCC’s rules succeed in court, does the will of the people truly align with the agency’s plans to regulate the Internet?

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Telecom Policy Potpourri

It was a busy week for telecommunications policy. The Federal Communications Commission held its April Open Meeting, and Congress had some legislation move along, including the E-mail Privacy Act. Below, we take a sampling of this week’s potpourri.

What's your 'Inside Threat Score?' It Could Determine If You Keep Your Clearance

Location:
Pentagon, Washington, DC, 20301-1400, United States

Your eligibility to perform secret government work could one day be decided by a number that looks like a credit score, and factors in your social media activities. According to the head of the new US security clearance agency, the idea is to regularly vet individuals with access to classified information on their likelihood to go rogue, as one would be rated on their likelihood to default on a loan.

Teen birthrate hits all-time low, led by 50 percent decline among Hispanics and blacks

Location:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA, 30333, United States
Recommendation:
2

The birthrate among American teenagers, at crisis levels in the 1990s, has fallen to an all-time low, according to an analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Theories on the reasons for the dramatic shift include everything from new approaches to sex education to the widespread availability of broadband Internet.

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What a Difference a Year Makes

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
2

Today marks the first anniversary of Charles Benton’s death. You may have known Charles because you met him at a conference or you spoke on the phone or you read one of his articles. Tall, large of voice, possessed of dazzling grin and intractable hair, Charles naturally drew considerable attention. He was the Benton Foundation for many people. Over the past 12 months, there has been an incredible outpouring of love, support, and fond memories of Charles. My colleagues and I have had the pleasure of traveling around the country to be part of many celebrations of Charles’ – and the foundation’s – contributions. Although one might be tempted to call all this the Charles Benton Memorial Tour, for me, it has actually been a listening tour – hearing not just about what various people and groups admired about Charles, but also about their concerns and priorities as the country considers who will be leading us in the years to come. This year, I’ve been thinking about "Digital Deserts." Despite great gains in achieving universal broadband, a number of “Digital Deserts” persist in the U.S. Many communities and households still do not have broadband service. We want to offer policy recommendations that will transform these deserts into oases of opportunity, and connect them to affordable, reliable, high-capacity broadband. I’m so encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to expand Lifeline support to include broadband service, making sure that millions of American families will no longer have to choose between buying groceries or paying for the connectivity that, for instance, allows their children to complete their homework assignments. But much more work needs to be done. I believe that broadband is a key instrument in addressing economic insecurity.

An Interview with Helen Brunner, Founding Director, Media Democracy Fund

Location:
Media Democracy Fund, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW , Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

A Q&A with Helen Brunner, founding director of the Media Democracy Fund and an advisor to the Quixote Foundation.

benton logo

What a Difference a Year Makes

Today marks the first anniversary of Charles Benton’s death. You may have known Charles because you met him at a conference or you spoke on the phone or you read one of his articles. Tall, large of voice, possessed of dazzling grin and intractable hair, Charles naturally drew considerable attention. He was the Benton Foundation for many people. Over the past 12 months, there has been an incredible outpouring of love, support, and fond memories of Charles. My colleagues and I have had the pleasure of traveling around the country to be part of many celebrations of Charles’ – and the foundation’s – contributions. Although one might be tempted to call all this the Charles Benton Memorial Tour, for me, it has actually been a listening tour – hearing not just about what various people and groups admired about Charles, but also about their concerns and priorities as the country considers who will be leading us in the years to come. This year, I’ve been thinking about "Digital Deserts." Despite great gains in achieving universal broadband, a number of “Digital Deserts” persist in the U.S. Many communities and households still do not have broadband service. We want to offer policy recommendations that will transform these deserts into oases of opportunity, and connect them to affordable, reliable, high-capacity broadband. I’m so encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to expand Lifeline support to include broadband service, making sure that millions of American families will no longer have to choose between buying groceries or paying for the connectivity that, for instance, allows their children to complete their homework assignments. But much more work needs to be done. I believe that broadband is a key instrument in addressing economic insecurity.

FCC Seeks Comment on Framework to Advance Competition in the Business Data Services Market (Special Access)

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
4

The Federal Communications Commission jumpstarted the process of protecting and advancing competition in the $45 billion market for business data services, also known as special access. The item adopted by the Commission seeks broad public comment on reforming and modernizing its rules based on four principles.

Chairman Wheeler: Charter Merger Conditions Create Competition Zone

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler says that the conditions he has proposed placing on the Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House merger have created a "seven-year innovation and competition zone," referring to the seven-year length of broadband-related conditions.

Census Bureau hopes to use data from other government agencies in 2020

Location:
Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, MD, 20746, United States
Recommendation:
2

Anyone who has filed a US tax return, applied for a Social Security number or signed up for Medicare has given personal data to the government. So when the Census Bureau counts the American public, can it use the information that other federal agencies have already collected?

Distorting the Snallygaster Market

Location:
Public Knowledge, 1818 N Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the Federal Communications Commission’s recent privacy rulemaking, you’ve probably heard its opponents claim that any regulation (no matter how minor, apparently) will create “distortions in the market” that would put broadband Internet service providers (or BIASes) at a disadvantage.

Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Vision of Our Future

Location:
SHLB Coalition, 1250 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
4

To meet the goals of the National Broadband Plan, America must renew its commitment to bring affordable multi-gigabit speed broadband access by 2020 to thousands of Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) – the schools, libraries, health clinics, and community centers that hold our communities together. That is the message in a new “Vision” Paper being released by the SHLB Coalition titled, “Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Vision of Our Future,” written by Christine Mullins with a foreword from Blair Levin.

FCC Lifeline Modernization Order

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
5

In this Order, we adopt reforms to make the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program a key driver of the solution to our Nation’s broadband affordability challenge.

Senate Commerce Committee Approves FCC Reauthorization and Six Other Bills

Location:
Senate Commerce Committee, Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE Russell Senate Office Building - 253, Washington, DC, 20002, United States
Recommendation:
4

The Senate Commerce Committee approved the reauthorization for the Federal Communications Commission, six other bills, and nominations.

House Unanimously Passes E-mail Privacy Act

Location:
Capitol Building, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, United States
Recommendation:
3

The House unanimously passed an e-mail privacy bill that the technology industry and advocates pushed for years. The Email Privacy Act had the most public backers of any bill in Congress, and it passed 419-0.

How a cable mega-deal could finally (and indirectly) make it easier to get good Internet

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
3

For the first time, consumers could someday see New Charter compete directly with the likes of Comcast in places like Pennsylvania or Florida.

Tribal Internet Access: Increased Federal Coordination and Performance Measurement Needed

Location:
Government Accountability Office, 441 G St., NW, Washington, DC, 20548, United States
Recommendation:
3

High-speed Internet service is viewed as a critical component of the nation's infrastructure and an economic driver, particularly to remote tribal communities. This testimony examines: (1) perspectives of tribes and providers on high-speed Internet access and barriers to increasing this access; (2) the level of interrelation and coordination between federal programs that promote high-speed Internet access on tribal lands; and (3) existing data and performance measures related to high-speed Internet on tribal lands.

Comcast is raising its data caps — and the fee to get rid of them

Location:
Comcast, 1500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19102-2148, United States
Recommendation:
3

Comcast is more than tripling the amount of data many of its subscribers are allowed to use in a month before they hit a cap, the company said. Comcast may be trying to make some preemptive moves as Charter nears approval for its massive takeover of Time Warner Cable.

Making a Cable Merger Safe for Consumers

Location:
New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY, 10018, United States
Recommendation:
3

Telecommunications companies often use mergers to limit consumer choice and raise prices. That’s why federal regulators are right to seek tough conditions before approving a deal that would combine three cable companies. The proposed deal involves Charter Communications’s $65.5 billion acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

This summer, Congress must make sure the Internet stays free

Location:
Network Solutions, 13861 Sunrise Valley Drive, Herndon, VA, 20171, United States
Recommendation:
2

By Sept 30, 2016, the Obama Administration plans to transition its stewardship over core Internet functions to the international community.Congress must ensure that the US remains in a position to protect the stability and freedom of the Internet. That means making sure that any institution taking over the stewardship of the Internet's core functions should be structured to keep the Internet decentralized, open and free.

Sen Ted Cruz's Cuba and Muni Broadband-Related Amendments Withdrawn

Location:
Capitol Building, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, United States
Recommendation:
2

Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) has withdrawn a couple of amendments to a Federal Communications Commission reauthorization bill being marked up in the Senate Commerce Committee that would have targeted Administration efforts to loosen communications restrictions on Cuba. Also withdrawn was an amendment Sen Cruz co-sponsored that would have reined in the FCC's preemption of state laws limiting municipal broadband buildouts. Still

Toronto Gets Its Own Free, Encrypted Mesh Network

Location:
Toronto, Canada
Recommendation:
2

Canadians are famously dissatisfied with Internet access in this country, and Mark Iantorno and Benedict Lau, two Toronto developers, are no exception. In December, they met for lunch at a cafeteria in a downtown office, and got to talking about how increasingly frustrated they were—Iantorno with sky-high data plan prices, and Lau, who is a mobile engineer with Android, with “black box design,” or the opacity of consumer tech.At that lunch, they talked about how to bring free, accessible Internet to the city, uncoupled from Canada’s three all-powerful telecoms. They went over various ideas: Iantorno suggested floating Wi-Fi rigged balloons over the city, an idea cribbed from Google’s Project Loon. Lau was skeptical. "I'm doing this thing called mesh networking,” he said. “You should take a look.

The damaging effects of a flawed Internet creation myth

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

n his 2003 article on network neutrality, Tim Wu made a fundamental error: He conflated product differentiation with price discrimination. This error has resulted in the promulgation of a flawed Internet creation myth — namely, that price and product differentiation on behalf of Internet service providers must be banned in order to preserve the Internet as its originators intended it to be.

Reactions to Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger Approval

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
3

On April 25, the Justice Department announced approval of the Charter-Time Warner Cable merger, with conditions.

The Charter-Time Warner Merger Would Create a New Internet Giant

Location:
Charter Communications, 12405 Powerscourt Dr, St. Louis, MO, 63131, United States
Recommendation:
3

Regulators are paving the way for a merger that could create a new Internet giant. The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice are set to approve Charter’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, so long as the newly formed company agrees not to impose data caps for seven years.

Google to FCC: Privacy Pledge Unnecessary

Location:
Google, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA, 94043, United States
Recommendation:
2

Google is taking issue with the Federal Communications Commission's proposal to have third parties, like Google, voluntarily adhere to cable-like customer privacy rules in exchange for getting access to cable operator set-top content.

Sen Ted Cruz Takes Aim at Municipal Broadband, Cuba

Location:
Capitol Building, E Capitol St NE & 1st St NE, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
4

GOP presidential candidate Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) wants Congress to block the Federal Communications Commission from preempting state laws related to government provision of Internet access services or loosening communications restrictions on Cuba.

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