The gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.
[Commentary] Net neutrality is founded on the core principle that everyone should have equal access to the internet, regardless of what content the individual chooses to consume. It is the only way we can ensure a level playing field for all citizens of this country. We have many sources of disparity we already reckon with regularly — income, education, race, health, gender, geographic location, and the list goes on. Why are we creating another one?
Two-thirds of Americans over 65 use the Internet. Half have a home broadband connection. And two-fifths have a smartphone. These numbers reflect progress. But they also reflect a connectivity gap. Compared to the overall population, older adults’ Internet usage is 23 percentage points lower, home subscriptions are 22 points lower, and smartphone adoption is 35 points lower. Since I became Chairman, we’ve been focused on updating our rules to ensure that high-speed infrastructure is built and maintained everywhere.
Remarks of Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, Connect South Carolina Community Technology Action Plan Event
The FCC’s latest efforts to quote “reform” the Lifeline Program, will actually decrease the availability of service less for those who stand to benefit the most. As you well know, connecting the unconnected is no easy task. Costs of just a couple dollars a month can be insurmountable for families that struggle to put food on the table each day. But what the FCC majority proposed to do earlier this month, is to take away no-cost service offerings, and eliminate the business model of 70% of providers in the current market
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the December Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 14, 2017.
The federal government is going to make it even more difficult for people on Tribal Lands to be connected to the wider world. In fact, most Native Americans who were counting on the Federal Communications Commission to continue with policies that many tribal communities were counting on to bring more service to far-flung tribal lands may see even cell service reduced.
Federal Communications Commission Changes Tribal Lands Eligibility for Lifeline Program Without Tribal Consultation
On November 16, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report & Order to change its definition of “rurality” for Tribal lands eligible for the enhanced Tribal subsidy of the Lifeline Program. Despite a thorough record of Tribal filings in this proceeding—including previous reform and modernization proceedings beginning initiated in 2011—the FCC has decided to eliminate the enhanced Tribal Lifeline support that was previously designated for all Tribal lands.
“When you kind of think about all the ways the internet affects your life and how 40 percent of people in Detroit don’t have that access you can start to see how Detroit has been stuck in this economic disparity for such a long time,” said Diana Nucera, director of the Detroit Community Technology Project. Nucera is part of a growing cohort of Detroiters who have started a grassroots movement to close that gap, by building the internet themselves. It’s a coalition of community members and multiple Detroit nonprofits.
On some evenings, after the Cleveland Public Library branch on Woodland Avenue closes, people linger near the low-slung entrance or sit in cars in the parking lot. Heads down, their eyes locked on a phone or small computer tablet, they come to do what most of us do without much thought or the need to leave the living room couch -- connect to the internet. For the people who live just across the street in the apartments that make up the King Kennedy public housing complex, access to the internet is not so easy. Broadband networks are available, but many can't afford the service.
[Commentary] Under the guise of promoting network investment and deployment and enhancing consumer choice, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s attack on the Lifeline program does the complete opposite. His plan proposes to kick all non-facilities-based service providers out of the Lifeline program, which includes wireless carriers like Tracfone’s Safelink Wireless or Virgin Mobile’s Assurance Wireless, that don’t have their own networks but lease capacity from facilities-based providers (e.g., AT&T, Sprint) and serve approximately 70 percent of Lifeline subscribers.
[Commentary] Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai contends his proposed reforms to the Lifeline program will “more effectively and efficiently help close the digital divide by directing Lifeline funds to the areas where they are most needed.” Opponents, however, believe the proposed changes “will gut the program and continue to widen the digital divide.” The likely outcome, if the proposal is enacted as currently written, will be somewhere in between. Some of these proposed reforms are important, positive steps that will improve the Lifeline program’s efficiency.