In exchange for obtaining a valuable license to operate a broadcast station using the public airwaves, each radio and television licensee is required by law to operate its station in the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” This means that it must air programming that is responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of license. In addition, how other media facilitate community discussions.
As the Senate considers additional measures to support small businesses around the country struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and John Boozman (R-AR) sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to ensure any future legislation make thousands of local newspapers, TV, and radio stations around the country eligible for small business assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Internet service in western Colorado was so terrible that towns and counties built their own telecom
Internet outages became a distant memory in April as a good chunk of western Colorado turned on a new broadband system. But this wasn’t built by a typical telecommunications company. It took a band of local governments and partners from 14 rural communities to stitch together the 481-mile network, dubbed “Project Thor.” Communities from Aspen to Meeker craved better access and affordability but also demanded reliability.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is circulating a draft letter to be sent to the White House requesting additional relief targeted specifically at local newsrooms. The letter asks President Trump to:
The Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau issued a temporary, limited waiver to TV broadcasters to enable them to more easily air live and taped same-day local content, like religious services, during time slots regularly dedicated to children's programming
Groups Call on Congress to Fund Journalism and Treat Local News as Essential Service during Pandemic
A coalition of more than 45 organizations and scholars has called on Congress to include vital funding for local news in the next coronavirus stimulus package. Free Press Action, PEN America, Common Cause, and other organizations urged the House and Senate leadership to consider local press an “essential service” vital to the nation’s health, prosperity, and recovery. The organizations ask Congress to allocate at least $5 billion to support local journalism in the next stimulus package.
As always, in times of emergency, broadcasters are stepping up to serve their communities and help keep people informed, healthy, and safe. From airing [public service announcements] on social distancing to supporting distance learning with educational programming, broadcasters are going above and beyond the call of public service. I want to especially recognize those reporters who are on the front lines, often putting themselves in harm’s way, to obtain vital information on COVID-19 to ensure their viewers and listeners have the most up-to-date and accurate information.
At our March meeting, the Federal Communications Commission will therefore vote on new rules requiring implementation of STIR/SHAKEN by June 30, 2021, a deadline set forth in the TRACED Act, which was recently passed by Congress. Under my proposal, the FCC would also seek public input on additional measures to combat spoofed robocalls, including other measures to implement the TRACED Act.
The Rural Broadband Cooperative is a group with a goal of bringing high-speed internet to a sparsely populated area about halfway between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. In their part of rural Huntingdon County, access to high-speed internet was mostly limited, expensive and unreliable. The cooperative turned to fixed wireless broadband.
As state lawmakers debate in committee rooms and Capitol chambers around the country, various broadband and Internet network infrastructure bills are appearing on agendas. Some are good news for local communities interested in developing publicly owned networks while other preemption bills make projects more difficult to plan, fund, and execute. We've gathered together some notable bills from several states that merit watching - good, bad, and possibly both.
The San Jose Digital Inclusion Fund in California was established about a year ago as a mechanism for closing the digital divide in this largely affluent San Francisco Bay Area city, part of Silicon Valley.