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.
Television executives from E.W. Scripps, Tegna and the National Association of Broadcasters will assess what progress the industry is making toward diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera and in its news coverage of minority communities during a TVNewsCheck Working Lunch Webinar.
As schools now explore virtual education and hospitals expand to digital platforms as viable and safe options during the time of COVID-19, the focus on adequate internet access has moved to center stage. In 2018, rural North Dakota residents had access to better internet service than residents of Englewood in Chicago. A recent report showed that in some parts of Chicago, as many as half of children lack the necessary access to broadband needed to engage in the online educational activities expected of them during the COVID-19 academic disruption.
Native American communities should have the same access to the opportunities of the digital age as other Americans. Yet, internet access in Indian Country remains stubbornly and persistently low. Addressing this problem requires smart policy and a scarce resource regulated by the Federal Communications Commission known as wireless spectrum. For the first time, tribal communities have an opportunity to obtain wireless spectrum to expand broadband access on their lands—but the challenges of COVID-19 threaten to diminish its potential. The FCC can and should fix that.
The American economy continues to digitalize at an astounding pace, but tens of millions of American households cannot access the digital economy due to physical gaps in local broadband networks, unaffordable subscription plans and personal devices, and a lack of digital skills. Digital equity offices would aim to address these structural barriers and ensure the digital economy reaches all local households.
The House Commerce Committee advanced seven communications bills and one House resolution to the full House of Representatives.
Telehealth services surged during the coronavirus pandemic, and yet we have to deal with the harsh reality that Black communities disproportionately lack access to the telecommunications services that provide access to critical, life-saving care. This is why I have called for an expansion of the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program, which is the only federal subsidy that offers voice and broadband services at a subsidized rate to low-income Americans, to meet the critical needs of this moment in history.
As states began to more systematically document the demographics of those falling ill, it quickly became clear that Black and Latinx communities were far more likely to suffer the lethal impact of the virus. But, today, most technological innovations remain strangely ‘colorblind’ to the reality that racial inequalities play a significant role in where COVID-19 makes the most significant impact.
A new and growing underclass is working inside some of the world's wealthiest companies. They push mops and clean toilets. They cook and serve gourmet lunches. They patrol suburban office parks. They ferry technology workers to and from their jobs in luxury shuttle buses. But they are not on the payroll at Apple, Facebook or Google, companies famous for showering their workers with six-figure salaries, stock options and perks. Instead they are employed by outside contractors. And they say the bounty from the technology boom is not trickling down to them.
The mass migration to remote work helped companies solve a major coronavirus challenge, but the recent civil unrest has exposed diversity and opportunity gaps across the U.S., which telecommuting is beginning to exacerbate. Low-income students and students of color entering the workforce are struggling to overcome a telecommuting digital divide. The data is starting to back up the personal experience.
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.