Internet/Broadband

Coverage of how Internet service is deployed, used and regulated.

Introducing the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Seventy-five years ago, in October 1944, my grandfather, William Benton, delivered a clarion call in the pages of Forbes magazine by articulating a forward-looking agenda on behalf of a coalition of business leaders (“the capitalists who cared enough about the system to save it”) to deliver a more peaceful and prosperous American future in the (then-expected) wake of winning World War II. William Benton recognized that American progress rested on the connection between economic opportunity and democracy.

Google and YouTube Will Pay Record $170 Million for Alleged Violations of Children’s Privacy Law

Google and its subsidiary YouTube will pay a record $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that the YouTube video sharing service illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

Basic Broadband for "Homes" on Tribal Lands

Sacred Wind Communications was founded on the premise of “serving the unserved,” given the technological void that envelopes so many tribal communities in New Mexico. While the company continues to expand its broadband deployment initiatives among tribal communities in New Mexico, it still faces an uphill battle when trying to balance high infrastructure buildout costs with high consumer demand, particularly in remote Navajo communities.

How Do We Measure Broadband?

Measuring broadband is an ongoing challenge for policymakers and, for many participants in broadband policy debates, often a source of frustration. The frustration about broadband measurement emanates from what seems knowable – at least it is about other infrastructure. We know where our roads and highways run. Today it is easy to know when they are clogged, where there are tolls, and how much those tolls cost. Electric infrastructure is essentially ubiquitous and it isn’t hard, in most places, to find out the cost of a kilowatt hour and compare prices among providers.

All Americans should be able to use the Internet. How do we get there?

It's easy to say all Americans should be able to use the Internet in the 21st century, which is probably why several leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have done just that. It’s much harder to say how to get there. Almost everyone, even on both sides of the aisle in Congress, seems able to agree on the need to fix the maps first. That’s because the Federal Communications Commission relies on coverage reports from industry, and carriers have incentive to exaggerate their reach.

A Preview of the FCC's July Open Meeting: Taking the "E" Out of EBS and TV

Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the agenda for the Federal Communications Commission's July 10 Open Meeting, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid out in a blog post on June 18, 2019. I'm traveling to New York this week; below is a shorter-than-usual weekly that takes a look at how Chairman Pai plans to take education out of the Educational Broadband Service -- and broadcast television.

Democrats press Sen Mitch McConnell to take up net neutrality bill

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) took to the floor of the Senate in an attempt to force a vote on a bill to reinstate net neutrality on the one-year anniversary of its reversal. “Under Sen. McConnell’s leadership, the Republicans are trying to bury this bill in a legislative graveyard,” Sen Markey said, referring to the Save the Internet Act passed by the House in April. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) noted that the Senate approved a measure nearly identical to the one in the House in 2018. 

The Ability to Pay for Broadband

According to recent National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) survey data, roughly 28 million households in the United States still do not use the Internet at home (Goldberg, 2019). In its survey, the NTIA also asked why households did not use the Internet at home, with 58 percent citing a lack of interest as their main reason for being offline and every fifth household (21%) stating that it is too expensive.

FCC Proposes Capping Fund Used to Close the Digital Divide

On Friday, May 31, the Federal Communications Commission launched a proceeding to seek comment on establishing an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF). USF programs provide subsidies that make telecommunications and broadband services more available and affordable for millions of Americans. The NPRM asks a lot of questions over how to cap the programs. But a crucial one we ask: Does this NPRM actually move the U.S. closer to closing the digital divide?

FCC, Again, Finds Broadband Being Deployed on a Reasonable and Timely Basis

On May 29, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission released the 2019 Broadband Deployment Report. For the second consecutive year, the FCC concluded that broadband is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to report annually on the availability of advanced telecommunications capability (broadband) to all Americans and to determine if broadband services are being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.