The gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.
Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the “rosy picture” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave on broadband access needs to be reworked before the agency votes on its annual deployment report. Chairman Pai first teased the report in Feb 2019, saying he’d circulated it to his fellow commissioners and hoped to get a vote on it soon (commissioners can vote in favor of adopting the annual report or can dissent if they disagree with its findings).
Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has made the issue of rural broadband a major talking point as she begins her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Gov Tim Walz (D-MN) has promised he’d attack the problem like a “moonshot.” Meanwhile, a Republican-sponsored bill with bipartisan support is making its way through the Minnesota Legislature, promising $35 million a year in each of the next two years for rural broadband upgrades. All the talk about addressing the issue is encouraging, broadband advocates say.
On February 12, 2019, 9 senators wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the FCC to reject the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. The senators said the deal is likely to raise prices for consumers, harm workers, stifle competition, exacerbate the digital divide, and undermine innovation. "Furthermore, we remain unconvinced that the merger would speed up the deployment of next-generation 5G networks or extend affordable coverage to all Americans," they wrote.
FCC Seeks Nominations For New BDAC Working Group Focused On Increasing Broadband Investment In Low-Income Communities
The Federal Communications Commission solicits nominations for membership on a new Increasing Broadband Investment in Low-Income Communities Working Group of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). This new working group will assist the BDAC in providing advice and recommendations to the Commission on new ways to encourage the deployment of high-speed broadband infrastructure and services to low-income communities. The work of this new BDAC group will help further the Commission’s top priority—closing the digital divide for all Americans.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is proud to have facilitated digital inclusion visits for newly appointed Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. After he attended a forum on the rural and urban broadband digital divide hosted by Rep Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Commissioner Starks attended a meeting of the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion, sharing why digital equity is important to him. He stated “Who’s job is it to make sure everyone has internet at home? It’s my job.
The hearing will focus on the Federal Communications Commission’s order to improve the quality and expand availability of rural broadband. The subcommittee will also discuss opportunities and investments to support carriers in rural America, efforts to prevent overbuilding among federal broadband programs, and the next steps to close the digital divide.
"Connectivity, Capital, Community," where MMTC convenes hundreds of media and telecom industry experts, innovators, and thought leaders to discuss bridging the digital divide and creating opportunities for underserved communities
Without a doubt, the 2018 midterm elections revealed a nation divided on many issues and not just along party lines. However, beyond all the rancor and disagreement, Americans of all political stripes have come together on one of our most pressing policy problems: access to broadband internet. Broadband access has sparked a revolution in startup activity, producing an app economy defined by democratized entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, broadband is still unavailable for millions of Americans.
Sen Capito (R-WV), West Virginia state leaders welcome Facebook to WV for Major Technology Investment
Sen Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Gov Jim Justice (R-WV) joined representatives from Facebook for an annuncement regarding Facebook’s plans to build a fiber optic cable that will run through parts of West Virginia. The project is expected to begin in 2019 and will result in an approximate 275-mile route in West Virginia, providing the state with enhanced fiber optic connectivity.
About 57 percent of Newport News (VA) households had broadband in 2017, according to the Census Bureau. There are a few places southeast Newport News residents can find free Wi-Fi, such as the McDonald’s. Community resources include computer labs at Ridley Place’s Family Investment Center and the Pearl Bailey Public Library on Wickham Avenue, although both have limited hours. For children who are members, Boys and Girls clubs also can provide an opportunity to get online.