What's on the agenda for policymakers.
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) joined Glen Echo Group CEO Maura Corbett for a conversation at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society’s 40th Anniversary celebration. In the wake of the unprecedented investment in broadband included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Corbett asked Clyburn where he thinks we’ll be in five years. “Oh, in five years,” Clyburn answered, “I think this is going to be a successful venture.” Representative Clyburn said attention now turns to states, like his home, South Carolina.
On April 6, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) joined a packed house at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Washington, DC to help the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society celebrate its 40th anniversary. Congressman Clyburn (D-SC) is the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, and also serves, importantly, as chair of the House Rural Broadband Task Force.
At our 40th Anniversary celebration on April 6, we were delighted to honor Andrew Jay Schwartzman and celebrate his 75th birthday.
As Congress found in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband is essential to full participation in modern life in the United States. The aim of the Affordable Connectivity Program is to ensure broadband is affordable for any household no matter its income. Although the Federal Communications Commission has met an incredibly tight timeline to adopt rules and launch the new Affordable Connectivity Program, there is still a great deal of work to be done. Here's a quick look at what remains on the FCC's agenda.
Rosenworcel & Davidson: With Leadership in Place, NTIA and FCC Must Now Work Together to Close the Digital Divide
On January 11, the U.S. Senate voted 60-31 to confirm the nomination of Alan Davidson to be the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. Once sworn in, Davidson will lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is President Joe Biden's principal adviser on telecommunications and information policy.
President Biden has renominated Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to be a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With Alan Davidson confirmed to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), it is critical that we have a fully functioning FCC to implement much of the work Congress has directed the two agencies to do.
Technology is a tool, a tool that can be used, if distributed equitably, to improve society. At the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, we are not for broadband just for broadband’s sake. In the "Broadband & Society" part of our name, we recognize that in our increasingly digital lives, equitable access to broadband and a just society are inseparable. Broadband's potential, its promise, is not just quicker communication, but improving education, healthcare, job training and acquisition, economic development, delivering government services, and so much more.
President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in key roles:
Universal service is the principle that all Americans should have access to essential communications services, like phones and broadband. You may not have heard much about it, but a universal service crisis is right around the corner. Due to Federal Communications Commission inaction, nearly 800,000 people could lose phone service on December 1. On that day, changes in the FCC’s Lifeline program, which provides a modest monthly discount for communications services, mean that voice-only services like a home landline telephone and/or a cellphone will no longer be eligible for the discount.
As the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act awaits a vote in the House of Representatives later this month, a debate over the future of the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund (USF) is already starting. Provisions in the infrastructure bill call for the FCC to quickly complete an evaluation of how the legislation will impact how the FCC's achieves the goal of deploying broadband to all Americans. Congress wants to know how the FCC can be more effective in achieving this goal. One brewing USF issue is how we pay for it.