On Monday, September 26, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Director of Research and Fellowships Dr. Revati Prasad hosted an online panel discussion, From the Ground Up: Broadband Mapping By and for Communities, on how communities and states are collecting data on local broadband availability as the Federal Communications Commission rolls out the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program.
The Roman philosopher Seneca said that good luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. In what the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has called “our broadband moments,” preparation requires bold community leadership that moves a community to gather data and build trusted relationships allowing them to be ready to act when opportunity arises. President Biden has pledged to make sure that every American has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. Full participation in our twenty-first century economy requires no less.
Millions of records that the Federal Communications Commission’s top lawyer once fought to hold back from state law enforcement officials now serve as key evidence in a year-long probe into cases of Americans being impersonated during the agency’s latest net neutrality proceeding.
Whether they are Wi-Fi kiosks, urban sensors, fiber networks, or built-from-scratch “smart” neighborhoods, new urban technology deployments are under the microscope. Despite the potential of these projects to drive innovation and economic growth, they are often met with mixed reception and a myriad of justifiable questions. Take the Quayside project in Toronto led by Sidewalk Labs.
The most significant effect on political parties this year was the $16 billion estimated to have been spent on these elections, further entrenching the ability of big business and the special interests to have their way in Congress, the state houses, judgeship elections, and local community races. If we cannot find our way—very soon—to significantly reduce or eliminate the polluting and destructive power of money in our politics, democracy’s days are numbered. The US Senate is hardly poised to lead us to significant democratic reforms.
In the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Congress recognizes that just extending the reach of broadband networks isn't enough; there is work to be done on broadband adoption as well.
In the weeks since Elon Musk took over the platform, his erratic leadership and bewildering choices have alienated many of Twitter’s power users, a core crop of whom are part of the American political establishment. But leaving a communications channel that’s become central to how Washington works won’t be easy. Washington takes Twitter very seriously. Twitter is a place where all the worlds that make up Washington — the politicians, the policy experts, the press, academics, activists, and others — gather.
A year ago, I urged us all to look beyond the $65 billion the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act sets aside for broadband and realize the importance of Congress’ recognition that access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband is essential to full participation in modern life in the United States. I still find this renewed and updated Congressional commitment to universal service to be astounding. We should continue to celebrate it—and continue the work that ensures this commitment becomes a reality.
Back in April, Illinois enacted legislation, the Broadband Infrastructure Advancement Act (P.A. 102-0699), that requires overarching procedures to make use of coming federal monies to support broadband deployment projects.
New federal programs and resources through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provide an unprecedented opportunity to build on the existing infrastructure and expertise of our nation’s libraries to inform state digital equity plans and accelerate broadband adoption and skills building for all nationwide. Libraries provide: