Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

It’s No Time to Disarm in the War Against the Digital Divide

The pandemic spurred policymakers and community leaders around the country to create programs to connect those without home broadband service or computers. These programs have had an impact. New government data show sharp increases in broadband and computer adoption in the 2019-to-2021 time frame. Initiatives such as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) have helped address “subscription vulnerability” for low-income households. With progress evident, it is time to extend and build on the ACP and local affordability programs.

FCC Releases New National Broadband Maps

The Federal Communications Commission released a pre-production draft of its new National Broadband Map. The map will display specific location-level information about broadband services available throughout the country – a significant step forward from the census block level data previously collected. This release of the draft map kicks off the public challenge processes that will play a critical role in improving the accuracy of the map.

Broadband Mapping By and For Communities

On Monday, September 26, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Director of Research and Fellowships Dr. Revati Prasad hosted an online panel discussion, From the Ground Up: Broadband Mapping By and for Communities, on how communities and states are collecting data on local broadband availability as the Federal Communications Commission rolls out the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program.

UScellular envisions using BEAD funding to build more towers

Fixed wireless access (FWA) is a bright spot for UScellular’s wireless business. UScellular CEO LT Therivel said that the company’s FWA subscriber base is doubling every 18 months.

Biden-Harris Administration Awards More Than $5.7 Million to Puerto Rico in ‘Internet for All’ Planning Grants

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is committing $5,781,987.00 in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to Puerto Rico through the territory's first “Internet for All” grants. The grant is for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs, as well as for planning for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the territory. Puerto Rico will receive $5 million to support the following:

Senator Thune (R-SD) Launches Nationwide Broadband Oversight Effort

US Senator John Thune (R-SD) will launch a nationwide oversight effort that will review numerous broadband programs spanning several federal agencies. The primary goal of Thune’s effort is to hold these agencies accountable and ensure that previously authorized broadband funding is being used in the most efficient way possible to protect taxpayer dollars. Sen Thune seeks input on the current broadband regulatory structure from a diverse group of stakeholders, including broadband associations, public interest groups, and free market think tanks.

Chicago can defeat the digital divide, help kids succeed in school

One pandemic-era program demonstrated that Chicago can solve big inequities with a spirit of partnership and the right resources. Since launching in June 2020, Chicago Connected, the country’s most comprehensive internet connectivity program for students,  has served nearly one in three CPS students — more than 100,000 students in 60,000 households. In a new report, Kids First Chicago (K1C) found the connectiv

Avoiding a $75 Billion Broadband Flop

How much broadband will Americans get for the $75 billion that Congress committed in 2021? That’s enough money to equip an additional 17 million households with broadband, taking the US to 99 percent broadband coverage, according to a Federal Communications Commission staff paper and data from the Census Bureau.

Colorado is challenging 13,000 speed inaccuracies in the new federal broadband map

A federal effort to map out and better understand who in America has decent internet and who does not is already getting challenged by those in the know, including the Colorado Broadband Office, which has submitted 13,000 challenges of the data. The map is just two weeks old. And the state isn’t done challenging the data collected by the Federal Communications Commission, said Brandy Reitter, executive director of the state’s broadband office. “Thirteen thousand is a lot but likely doesn’t include all missing locations,” Reitter said.

Broadband priorities for outgoing and incoming Congress

The 117th Congress is nearing its end. There are still several broadband policy issues and related matters for Congress to sort out. Meanwhile, the current Congress has few working days left in 2022—and still needs to pass a budget for 2023—and it's unclear how much legislation will reach President Biden's desk when Republicans gain the House majority in January. Here are two policy matters to watch for the remaining days of this Congress: