Healthcare Facilities

Sens. Luján, Thune Announce Bipartisan Working Group on the Universal Service Fund and Broadband Access

Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and John Thune (R-SD) announced a bipartisan Senate working group to evaluate and propose potential reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF). The goal of this working group is to create a bipartisan forum to guide education, awareness, and policy-making on this topic.

A Discussion About the State of Universal Service

All people in the United States shall have access to rapid, efficient, nationwide communications service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.

How to Fix the Universal Service Fund

The Universal Service Fund (USF) is inefficient, ineffective, and funded by a regressive tax mechanism. Several reforms could improve the program:

Connection found: Rural broadband bill gets its day in the Senate

A bipartisan effort to push the Federal Communications Commission to expand internet access to rural areas will finally get a Senate hearing, two years after the bill was first introduced. The Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act has support in both the House and Senate and will get its day in the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday, May 11th, 2023. The bill — introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in the Senate and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) in the House — orders the FCC to determine ho

Benton Institute Welcomes Another Unanimous Verdict for FCC and Universal Broadband

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit joined the 5th Circuit in rejecting an attack on the constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund (USF). The  USF is a critical means of reducing the cost of broadband and other telecommunications services for schools, hospitals and libraries, for low-income consumers, and for residents of rural America. The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, MediaJustice, and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance are intervenors supporting the FCC in this case.

FCC Chairwoman Letter to CDC Director on Maternal Health Collaboration

On December 20, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act. This Act directs the Federal Communications Commission to incorporate, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), publicly available data on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity into its Mapping Broadband Health in America platform by June 18, 2023.

SHLB Coalition 2023 Policy Roadmap

Each year, the Schools Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition issues a policy roadmap to shape its advocacy for community anchor institution broadband. While the priorities outlined in the 2023 roadmap serve as guide posts, SHLB remains flexible in its advocacy efforts and adapts to the dynamic policy landscape. To continue their efforts, all community anchor institutions need robust, multi-gigabit internet connectivity.

Comcast touts its Xfinity Communities Wi-Fi

Comcast and Charter are two of the largest providers of Wi-Fi in the US.

Reaction to USF Decision

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said, “I’m pleased that the Fifth Circuit agreed with what I and many others—including bipartisan members of Congress—have said about the Universal Service Fund. It is constitutional, both in concept and implementation. The Universal Service Fund continues to connect rural communities, schools, libraries, healthcare providers, and low-income households all across the country.

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Salutes 'Ringing Ratification' of USF

Coming from one of the more conservative courts in the country, this decision is a ringing ratification of the system Congress established to ensure that all Americans have affordable access to telecommunications service and advanced services like broadband. This should not come as a surprise, but once the USF was subjected to a legal challenge, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society joined with public allies to defend this critical mechanism for ensuring universal broadband.