Digital Divide

The gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.

Digital loitering reality of life for poor

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.

FCC Chairman Pai Plans to Put an End to the US Commitment to Universal Service and Affordability

[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.

Proposed Lifeline Reforms a Mixed Bag, Still Ignore Real Issues

[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.

Critics Eviscerate FCC Lifeline Proposal

The National Grange, which advocates for rural and agricultural interests, has joined with Consumer Action and the former chair of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Utility commission to oppose Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to revamp the FCC's Lifeline low income advanced communications subsidy program, called Lifeline. They used words highly charged words like "knock out," "cripple," "kill" and "destroy" to characterize the proposal. The Grange et al.

Ajit Pai Won't Have the Last Word on Net Neutrality

[Commentary] Congress doesn’t need to legislate on Net Neutrality. What it needs to do is rein in Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and the Trump FCC and get them to enforce the laws and rules already on the books. Of course, I’m not so naive to think that Pai isn’t going to go forward with a vote to take away Title II and probably erase the rules altogether as soon as December. But that won’t be the last word. Given the arbitrary and capricious way the agency has proceeded, I like our chances in court.

When Students Can’t Get Broadband, Career Success Proves Elusive

For many university students, high-speed internet access on campus is as expected as sidewalks and electricity. With a large number of college curriculums and tools dependent on these digital connections, what happens for students who don’t have regular access to high-speed internet? According to new research from the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) presented to the Higher Education Coordinating Council (HECC), the lack of widely available broadband internet access in Florida is correlated to a smaller percentage of citizens with college degrees or certificates.

NTIA Data Offers Window Into Understanding Veterans’ Computer and Internet Use

Understanding the barriers to veterans' broadband access and adoption is the first step to reducing the challenges veterans face as they seek out job opportunities, affordable housing, vital health services and more. In advance of Veterans Day, NTIA conducted an analysis of its Digital Nation data to better understand the landscape of veterans' computer and internet use in America.  Since 1994, NTIA has partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to survey Americans about their computer and Internet use.

FCC Mediating AT&T Redlining Complaint

The Federal Communications Commission is attempting to mediate the broadband redlining complaint filed against AT&T by attorney Daryl Parks on behalf of "Cleveland broadband consumers," according to Parks, who says he is ready to talk, but also to sue. According to Parks' office, they are scheduled for a Nov. 13-14 session with AT&T and FCC staffers to try and resolve the complaint. "It is my sincere desire to resolve these matters during the November 13 - 14 FCC staff monitored mediation session," said Parks.

Libraries Advance Digital Inclusion Role With Hotspots

Libraries are a lynchpin for national, state, and local digital inclusion efforts—particularly our 16,500+ public library locations across the country.

What's the FCC Doing to the Lifeline Program?

[Commentary] On November 16, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on an item that will impact the commission's Lifeline program, which provides discounts on telecommunications services for qualifying low-income consumers. On October 26, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a draft of the item in advance of the November vote. Here we break down the rules that the FCC plans on changing immediately at the November meeting, the new proposals the FCC is seeking comment on, and the more general evaluation the FCC is launching into the program's "ultimate purposes." [Kevin Taglang]