Benton Foundation

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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.

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.

National Digital Inclusion Alliance Names The City Of Seattle’s David Keyes The Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion

Location:
National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
5

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) has named David Keyes, the Digital Equity Manager for the City of Seattle (WA), as the first recipient of the Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award.

Fox News pressed to ask debate questions about Internet access

Location:
FOX News Channel, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10036, United States
Recommendation:
2

Nearly 40 groups [including the Benton Foundation] sent a letter to Fox News urging presidential debate moderators to ask the candidates how they would expand Internet access — especially in poor, rural and minority communities.

Public Interest Groups and Broadband Providers Urge Lifeline Modernization

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Public Knowledge joined a broad cross-section of public interest groups [including the Benton Foundation] and broadband providers in a letter to support the Federal Communications Commission’s goal of bringing the Lifeline phone subsidy program into the modern era by extending the subsidy to broadband service. The letter reflects the almost universal support in the FCC’s record in this proceeding that Lifeline should offer the option of a broadband subsidy to recognize the critical role that Internet access plays in society.

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The Emerging World of Broadband Public–Private Partnerships: A Business Strategy and Legal Guide

Location:
Coalition for Local Internet Choice, 2014 P Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
4

This report explores three business models for broadband public–private partnerships -- and examines, with a public sector audience in mind, the major legal issues that may arise in a broadband public–private partnership project, from early planning through the negotiating stage.

How Libraries Are Increasing Home Broadband Adoption

Location:
Urban Libraries Council, 125 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL, 60606, United States
Recommendation:
4

Cutting-edge libraries are addressing all aspects of broadband adoption: home Internet access, public Internet access, digital literacy training, and support and access to devices.

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Happy 20th Anniversary, Telecommunications Act: A Day to Recommit to Universal Broadband Access

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

Some people deride the 1996 Act for not mentioning “the Internet” by name, but let’s not forget how the legislation laid out a new regulatory landscape for the Digital Age. Most importantly, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to preserve and advance the core American value that everyone must have access to “advanced communications services”—what you and I now call broadband—at affordable prices. The bipartisan Act enshrined “universal service,” even while relying more on competition in the telecommunications marketplace.

Seeking solutions for 60 million Americans who lack home Internet

Location:
San Francisco, CA, United States
Recommendation:
2

An estimated 60 million Americans lack Internet access at home. More Americans than ever rely solely on their phones for online access, according to the Pew Research Center. But being smartphone reliant poses many challenges. People who connect to the Internet using only their phones are more likely than others to hit data caps that, in turn, limit how much they can do online, or the added charges could make the phones prohibitively expensive, according to Pew.

FCC pressed to start drafting Internet privacy rules

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

More than 50 digital rights and consumer groups are pressing the Federal Communications Commission to start drafting Internet privacy rules “as quickly as possible.”

Study Finds Four Broadband Adoption Success Factors

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

Aiming to help bridge the ¨digital divide,¨ a new study from the Benton Foundation identifies four core, interrelated digital inclusion activities deemed essential in helping low-income individuals and families access and make good use of broadband connectivity.

ISPs Ask FCC to Stick to Original (Backup) Power Play

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

Internet service providers asked the Federal Communications Commission to stay the course and not mandate that fixed VoIP providers install and maintain battery backup for all their customers in case of emergency.

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Benton Foundation Accepts The Dirk Koning-George Stoney Award

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
4

. Charles Benton would have been so thrilled to realize how many lives he touched and impacted. And I am so honored to be here with you all to accept The Dirk Koning – George Stoney Award.

Gigabit and the Economy: A First-Hand Look at Chattanooga

Location:
Chattanooga, TN, United States
Recommendation:
2

Of the six major cities where gigabit service already has been deployed, Chattanooga (TN) has had gigabit service for the longest. And to this day, Chattanooga is the only city whose offering extends citywide. That makes the market a kind of bellwether for gauging the impact of gigabit service.

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Celebrating 20 Years at the Benton Foundation

Recommendation:
3

“Welcome to the Benton vortex,” a colleague said to me 20 years ago today and, noticing how startled I appeared added, “Don’t get me wrong; it’s a very nice vortex.”

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Benton Named Recipient of 2015 Community Broadband Award

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

The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) Board of Directors named Charles Benton the recipient of NATOA's 2015 Community Broadband Visionary Award to recognize Benton's lifetime of extraordinary support and advocacy for the development and proliferation of local community broadband systems.

There's more to municipal broadband than public funding, says report

Location:
Gig.U, One Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, 20016, United States
Recommendation:
3

US communities looking for faster broadband service than incumbent Internet service providers provide have alternatives to the increasingly controversial choice of seeking to publicly fund a network, according to a new handbook for city officials.

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The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook: a Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable Abundant Bandwidth

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
4

Gig. U and the Benton Foundation published a comprehensive guide for communities who want better broadband for their residents and businesses. The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook: a Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable Abundant Bandwidth builds on the experience of 25 Gig.U communities who have worked on this issue for many years and is an indispensable tool in lowering the initial, daunting information barrier for cities just beginning to navigate these critical Internet infrastructure issues.

28 Groups join Public Knowledge in Urging Chairman Wheeler to Protect Americans in Tech Transition

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

Public Knowledge, joined by 28 other organizations, sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler calling on him to issue rules to protect the more than 85 million Americans and millions of small business still dependent on traditional landline service from losing access to vital services, and to preserve the stability of the telephone system and reliability of the 911 system for the more than 300 million Americans that depend on it every day.

FCC Announces Appointment of Consumer Advisory Committee

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Federal Communications Commission announces the appointment of the thirty-seven members of the Consumer Advisory Committee, a committee to make recommendations to the FCC regarding consumer issues within jurisdiction of the FCC and to facilitate the participation of consumers (including underserved populations, such as Native Americans, persons living in rural areas, older persons, people with disabilities, and persons for whom English is not their primary language) in proceedings before the FCC.

Comcast/Time Warner Critics: Neutrality Condition Would Not Sweeten It

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Groups that don't like the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger still don't like the merger, and would not like it even if it had a net neutrality condition that applied the new rules regardless of their court status.

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A Victory for Everyone Who Uses the Internet

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

February 26, 2015 marks the greatest commitment ever made to preserve and protect an open and free Internet. On this day, the Federal Communications Commission has acted decisively to protect the rights of Internet users to employ any legal applications, content, devices, and services of their choosing on the broadband networks they rely on. Today, the FCC has made sure that the Internet remains a platform for all consumers, content creators, and innovators, regardless of their ability to pay infrastructure owners special fees for special access. Ten years after the FCC first adopted a policy statement on the Open Internet, we now have strong, enforceable network neutrality rules, consistent with the nation’s core values. The FCC’s action today demonstrates that there is a public interest at stake across all communications media – be they telephone networks, broadcast stations, wireless, or today’s networks of computer networks. At the Benton Foundation, we have always focused on closing the digital divide and supporting digital inclusion, so the most vulnerable populations can participate fully in a diverse media system and in our democracy. Today, the FCC took action to make this a reality.

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Benton Salutes FCC’s Move to Bring More Fiber to More Communities, Sooner

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

Today, the Federal Communications Commission sided with community-based solutions. Today, the FCC sided with choice. Today, the FCC sided with bringing better broadband everywhere. The FCC today voted to approve the petitions of community broadband providers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, which asked that the FCC to pre-empt provisions of state laws preventing expansion of their very successful networks. The Benton Foundation thanks the FCC for this action. In too many communities around the U.S. – and especially in rural communities – no commercial Internet service providers are offering broadband – and do not plan to. State restrictions on community broadband mean that rural communities have no options at all to build the networks needed to participate in the digital economy. These laws stop localities from finding creative ways to work with private investors and chill the kinds of partnerships and experimentation that should be happening to close the digital divide. Today’s FCC action could bring broadband service to communities where there is none and competition in areas where it does not exist. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recognizes that meaningful competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking. To take advantage of today’s new services, and to incentivize the development of tomorrow’s innovations, Americans need more competitive choices for faster and better Internet connections. Today’s FCC action means that the broadband marketplace will have to be more responsive to competitive forces.

FCC should create a 40 MHz reserve for 600 MHz auction, public interest groups urge

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

A coalition of public interest groups urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a spectrum reserve of at least 40 MHz for the 600 MHz incentive auction, one of several rule changes they are suggesting aimed at helping smaller carriers acquire spectrum.

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A Deeper Dive into the Data: Seniors and the Internet

Location:
Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI), 8403 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD, 20910, United States
Recommendation:
2

At a time when communications technology is evolving at a frantic pace and the Internet is fast becoming the primary conveyor of information and services, a significant segment of our population remains offline. National survey data for 2014 show that 41-43% of persons age 65+ do not use the Internet, compared to only 13-14% of all adults age 18+ (Pew Research Center, 2000-2014). The reasons for this continuing digital divide involve seniors’ concerns about affordability, a belief that the Internet holds no relevance for them, and a fear that computers are too difficult to learn. This “senior digital divide” is greatest among the oldest and least advantaged older adults. Of the estimated 18.9 million offline elders in 2014, 61% (11.5 million) are age 75+. But older age is not the whole story. Seniors with the lowest incomes and least education are much more likely to be offline – double and triple jeopardy.
[Garcia, former Executive Director of the Benton Foundation, is a communications advisor with an extensive background in public affairs, television production and advocacy. Bob Harootyan is the research manager at Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI), where he directs internal and external projects related to low-income older workers and the aging workforce.]

Public Knowledge Asks FCC to Protect Consumers During Tech Transitions

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

Public Knowledge and twelve other consumer advocacy groups filed comments before the Federal Communications Commission in response to the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on network transitions. Public Knowledge urges the Commission to adopt clear and robust rules to ensure no one is left behind in the phone network transition to IP, fiber, or wireless.

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DC Reacts to FCC Chairman Open Internet Rules

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

DC reacted to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's framework for network neutrality ...

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Benton Supports President Obama's Call for More Internet Options for Consumers

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

I am gladdened to hear President Barack Obama's recognition of broadband’s crucial role in our recovering economy. I am especially excited to hear a commitment to encouraging, creating and protecting competition in the broadband marketplace. And, in areas where we cannot expect competition to exist, the President is right to embrace a role for government for promoting broadband deployment. Like the President, the Benton Foundation stands on the side of competition, on the side of small business owners, on the side of students and schools, and on the side of choice for communities. If community leaders believe they must act to improve local broadband networks, they should be allowed to craft local solutions -- even if that means a community providing its own broadband if it decides that is its best option.

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Chairman's Year End Message 2014

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

I believe deeply that our media and telecommunications can and must serve the public interest and enhance our democracy. On this bedrock faith, the Benton Foundation seeks policy solutions that support the values of access, diversity and equity; demonstrates the value of media and telecommunications for improving the quality of life for all; and provides informational resources to policymakers and advocates to inform communications policy debates. Our overarching goal is to close the digital divide and support digital inclusion, so the most vulnerable populations can participate fully in a diverse media system and in our democracy. With this goal in mind, here are the areas the foundation devoted ourselves to this year.

The Killer App for Local Fiber Networks

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

In short, economic development and job creation can fairly be called the “killer app” for local fiber networks. Many projects across the country use advanced communications capabilities to support economic development and at the same time use the benefits of economic development to fund their network and make them sustainable. Over time, the path from broadband investments to economic development should be faster, more efficient and less costly to navigate.