Digital Divide

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

While You Were Googling 'Impeachment'

Obviously, there's no bigger story this week than the possible impeachment of the 45th president of the United States. But if we still have your attention, here's some items of note we found this week. 1) Court Again Rejects FCC Attempt to Loosen Broadcast Ownership Rules. 2) Rebuilding Communications Infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 3) Defining the Digital Divide.

Basic Broadband for "Homes" on Tribal Lands

Sacred Wind Communications was founded on the premise of “serving the unserved,” given the technological void that envelopes so many tribal communities in New Mexico. While the company continues to expand its broadband deployment initiatives among tribal communities in New Mexico, it still faces an uphill battle when trying to balance high infrastructure buildout costs with high consumer demand, particularly in remote Navajo communities.

The Ability to Pay for Broadband

According to recent National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) survey data, roughly 28 million households in the United States still do not use the Internet at home (Goldberg, 2019). In its survey, the NTIA also asked why households did not use the Internet at home, with 58 percent citing a lack of interest as their main reason for being offline and every fifth household (21%) stating that it is too expensive.

FCC Proposes Capping Fund Used to Close the Digital Divide

On Friday, May 31, the Federal Communications Commission launched a proceeding to seek comment on establishing an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF). USF programs provide subsidies that make telecommunications and broadband services more available and affordable for millions of Americans. The NPRM asks a lot of questions over how to cap the programs. But a crucial one we ask: Does this NPRM actually move the U.S. closer to closing the digital divide?

What Does the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Report Tell Us About the Digital Divide?

In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission released its eighth Broadband Deployment Report (the "706 report") and found that approximately 19 million Americans at the end of 2011 lacked access to high-speed internet access. The FCC concluded that "broadband is not yet being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion." On May 29, 2019, the FCC distributed a press release summarizing findings from its revised 2019 Broadband Deployment Report and stated that at the end of 2017, 21.3 million Americans lacked access to broadband networks.

When we say we’ll do something, we mean it!: T-Mobile CEO Lays Out Merger Concessions

As we’ve made our case for the New T-Mobile, we’ve been listening to the Federal Communications Commission and many others. We submitted a set of commitments to the FCC around the New T-Mobile to address what we’ve heard. Ultimately, the commitments are about our shared goal to put the US at the forefront of 5G innovation, driving massive economic growth, helping bridge the Digital Divide, creating more competition, and of course, giving consumers and businesses more for less.

Can “Slapping ‘New and Improved’ on CAF” Close the Digital Divide?

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai joined President Donald Trump at the White House for an announcement about action to “ensure that America wins the race to 5G.” In addition to promoting fifth generation wireless technology, Chairman Pai announced a new $20 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund at the FCC. That sounds like a huge step forward for expanding rural broadband -- so why was it tacked on to the 5G news? 5G is really a fiber network with antennas at the end.

Presentation of the Fourth Annual Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Awards

The city of Charlotte’s namesake, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was Queen of Great Britain at the time of the US Revolution. Therefore, it seems appropriate to revisit the Queen’s City and celebrate the people and the organizations who are ensuring this digital revolution benefits everyone.

Why is the FCC Talking about a USF Cap?

The Benton Foundation unequivocally opposes any proposals from the Federal Communications Commission that would allow the FCC to shirk its responsibilities to meet its Congressionally-mandated mission. The FCC is supposed to ensure:

Providing Broadband to Rural America: How Educators with EBS Can Make the Difference

In 2008, Northern Michigan University (NMU) elected to tackle the lack of adequate broadband access in its community head-on. With over 8,000 notebook computers assigned to its students, NMU launched an aggressive plan to construct the nation’s first Educational Broadband Service (EBS) WiMAX network.