Digital Divide

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

From Availability to Accessibility: Why the Detroit Public Library Began Partnering with Coin Laundromats

How do you Google a question you do not know the specific vocabulary to phrase? How do you sort through all the answers that come up, and avoid the ads that provide false or misleading information? Many people that we work with do not find high-quality, web-based resources to be accessible, even though the resources are technically available. While accessibility is near impossible without availability, availability without accessibility is perhaps even more disappointing.

Millions Could Lose Service if FCC 'Reforms' Lifeline Program

[Editorial] The Benton Foundation has joined literally hundreds of organizations that are asking the Federal Communications Commission to ensure Lifeline voice and broadband service for low-income households, with minimal disruption to the people who depend on the program for a consistent connection to the world via their telephone or internet connection. We're asking that the FCC:

FCC Chairman Pai's Plan Will Take Broadband Away From Poor People

[Commentary] Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has portrayed the Lifeline program and the people who benefit from it as hopelessly corrupt. Now he is proposing to make changes that will, for all intents and purposes, destroy the program. He aims to severely reduce both the supply of and demand for Lifeline-supported services. 

Setting the Bar for Public Funding: Aiming Higher with the Connect America Fund

[Commentary] How can we improve the biggest tool to closing the digital divide in the Federal Communications Commission’s toolbox: the Connect America Fund. Back in 2011, the FCC adopted a performance goal for the Connect America Fund of ensuring universal access to fixed broadband and concluded it would measure progress towards this outcome based on the number of newly served locations — but it did not articulate any concrete vision for when this universal service goal might be achieved.

What will repealing net neutrality rules mean for communities in rural America?

What will repealing net neutrality rules mean for communities in rural America? Public interest groups say it could present unique challenges. Jessica Gonzalez, deputy director and senior counsel for the group Free Press, says most rural communities only have one Internet provider and that provider could do as it pleases if the rule is repealed.

A Time to Give Thanks

Rounding out our December meeting will be two matters that were previewed yesterday.

First, the Federal Communications Commission will consider an order that would restore Internet freedom and return to the bipartisan, light-touch framework that helped America's Internet economy become the envy of the world. And unlike the previous Administration, which pushed through its Internet regulations without letting the public see what was being proposed, anyone can read my plan. It's on the Commission's website —more than three weeks before our scheduled vote.

FCC's Lifeline overhaul sets fire to a bridge over the digital divide

[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission took its first major step toward overhauling the controversial Lifeline program in a move that will punish not just low-income citizens but perhaps small, innovative service providers as well.  Yes, Lifeline was once teeming with fraud, waste and abuse. Yes, the program still has significant flaws. And yes, companies that fail to provide adequate services should be forever barred from Lifeline for preying on some of our most vulnerable citizens.

FCC Moves to Transform Lifeline Program for Low-Income Americans

The Federal Communications Commission took steps to transform its Lifeline program. A Fourth Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order changes FCC rules to:

Civil Rights Groups Question Lifeline Changes

The National Hispanic Media Coalition, Color of Change, NAACP and the Benton Foundation are among the organizations concerned about proposed changes to the Lifeline program, which is on the docket for the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming open meeting. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai -- who has long called for reforms to deter waste, fraud and abuse in Lifeline -- is seeking a vote at the agency’s Nov. 16 meeting on a major overhaul of the program, which subsidizes phone and broadband service for the poor.

How the $4 Trillion Flood of Covid Relief Is Funding the Future

Out of the $65 billion allocated to broadband in the recent infrastructure law, the bulk — $45 billion — is for installing broadband, compared with $17 billion for ongoing access and subsidy grants.