The Federal Communications Commission has considered four aspects of diversity: 1) Viewpoint diversity ensures that the public has access to a wide range of diverse and antagonistic opinions and interpretations provided by opportunities for varied groups, entities and individuals to participate in the different phases of the broadcast industry; 2) Outlet diversity is the control of media outlets by a variety of independent owners; 3) Source diversity ensures that the public has access to information and programming from multiple content providers; and 4) Program diversity refers to a variety of programming formats and content.
University of Virginia Professor Christopher Ali spoke about rural broadband with the Reimagine New York Commission. The rural-urban digital divide is primarily one of infrastructure. At least 22.3% of rural Americans, or 15.8 million people, lack access to broadband infrastructure and are therefore cut off from the internet.
We urge Congress to establish a broadband credit — call it America’s Broadband Credit — to ensure many more people can afford high-speed Internet access. Congress could set a household subsidy of $50 per month, which is roughly the cost of medium-tier broadband plans in urban settings (and it could provide a higher subsidy for tribal lands). That subsidy would allow anyone and any device in the household to be connected to the Internet, simultaneously, which is how so many families today are operating.
Perhaps there’s no better day to contemplate the critical connection between communications and equity than Juneteenth. June 19 commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas first learned about the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Cut off from communications, slaves in Texas were deprived news of their freedom for over two and a half years. In our time when information travels at the speed of the internet, it is almost inconceivable that anyone could be denied information so vital to their well-being for so long.
I’ve spent just over 30 years working to ensure that all Americans benefit from accessible, affordable, and open communications networks that promote democratic values. But none of that would have been possible without Everett Parker’s accomplishments. As this audience knows well, Everett worked hand-in-hand with the Rev. Martin Luther King and the civil rights community to challenge the broadcast license of WLBT-TV, a Jackson, Mississippi, station that broadcast racist propaganda and refused to cover the civil rights movement.
Whether they are Wi-Fi kiosks, urban sensors, fiber networks, or built-from-scratch “smart” neighborhoods, new urban technology deployments are under the microscope. Despite the potential of these projects to drive innovation and economic growth, they are often met with mixed reception and a myriad of justifiable questions. Take the Quayside project in Toronto led by Sidewalk Labs.
[Editorial] When we decided to devote our April 2018 magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others. Race is not a biological construct, as writer Elizabeth Kolbert explains in this issue, but a social one that can have devastating effects. “So many of the horrors of the past few centuries can be traced to the idea that one race is inferior to another,” she writes. “Racial distinctions continue to shape our politics, our neighborhoods, and our sense of self.” How we present race matters.
[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.
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:
Across the rural US, more than 100 cooperatives, first launched to provide electric and telephone services as far back as the 1930s, are now laying miles of fiber optic cable to connect their members to high-speed internet. Many started building their own networks after failing to convince established internet service providers to cover their communities. But while rural fiber optic networks have spread swiftly over the past five years, their progress has been uneven.