Communications Act of 1934

Net Neutrality Rules Face ‘Major Questions’ Buzzsaw at High Court

The Federal Communications Commission appears poised to again consider how broadband internet access service should be regulated to ensure “net neutrality” so all consumers can enjoy free and unimpeded access to lawful internet content. However, the key question is who decides how to translate that goal into law.

US telecommunications players balk at foreign ownership reporting proposal

A wide range of telecommunication companies and trade associations in the US oppose a new Federal Communications Commission proposal that would require regular reassessments of a foreign carrier's authorization to provide service in the US.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Response to Reps. Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi Regarding Security Risks Posed By Cellular Connectivity Modules

On August 7, Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) wrote Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel with concerns about the security risks posed by cellular connectivity modules provided by companies subject to the jurisdiction, direction, or control of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On September 5, the Chairwoman wrote back saying that the s approach is to “deter, defend, and develop”: deter bad actors, defend against untrusted vendors, and develop a market for trustworthy innovation.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Response to Senators Cruz and Thune Regarding the 2.5 GHz Auction

On August 14, Sens Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel with concerns about the FCC’s failure to grant approximately 90% of licenses won in the 2496-2690 MHz (“2.5 GHz”) auction.

Preserving and Advancing Universal Service

As what we can do with the internet has expanded, so too has the way we connect, and how we use it—at home and on the go. In the United States today, it has become the norm for a majority of households to have two types of subscriptions to the internet—mobile data for their phone and fixed (and for the most part) wireline service for their residence. Over 75 percent of households whose annual incomes exceed $50,000 have cellular data and wireline broadband subscriptions. For households below that level, 44.7 percent have both types of subscription plans.

Support grows for ACP to replace Lifeline Program

In comments filed with the Senate Working Group on the future of the Universal Service Fund (USF), many organizations underscored the issue of redundant government expenditure in their submissions, with a notable focus on whether the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) should be integrated into the USF framework. The USF includes four programs targeting different vulnerable portions of the broadband market: the Connect America Fund, Lifeline, Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) and Rural Health Care.

The Importance and Effectiveness of the Lifeline Program

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is greatly concerned with the preservation and advancement of the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program—a vital Universal Service Fund program that must continue to be improved to achieve its goals, broaden its reach, and expand access to those who can benefit the most. Lifeline was created nearly 40 years ago with the aim of providing low-income households with low-cost landline telephony options. Now, nearly all U.S. households have telephone service and the Lifeline program plays an essential role in ensuring affordability.

A Tale of Two Markets

There is a huge disparity in regulating two distinct but highly intertwined industries – broadband and voice. Voice regulation includes the cellular business, and, in terms of revenue, the voice market is larger than broadband. JD Powers reported in April 2023 that the average household is spending $144 for cellular per month. I call these industries intertwined because the players at the top of both industries are the same. The big internet service providers (ISP) are Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon. The biggest voice players are AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

Comments on the Current and Future State of the Universal Service Fund

Municipal leaders are on the front lines of the digital divide, responding to the needs and concerns of the communities they serve.

Free Press Calls on Congress and the FCC to 'Reimagine and Reinvent' Efforts to Bridge the Digital Divide

The US telecommunications market has significantly evolved since Congress last overhauled the Communications Act more than a quarter century ago. But the Federal Communication Commission’s universal service distribution policies – though periodically tweaked – are still rooted in a framework designed to support incumbent telephone companies. However, the Congress and the FCC now have before them an opportunity to reimagine and reinvent universal service policy for the future.