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.

Municipal Broadband: Using Today’s Technology to Support Communities’ Futures

As the pandemic continues for a third year, addressing the digital divide is critical for local governments and communities to prosper. The solution is fiber and wireless broadband investment and ownership by municipalities, utilities, electrical co-ops, and Tribal governments. With access to fiber broadband, everyone from residents and tourists to government entities can benefit from telework, access online education, offer and access online services, use telehealth, take advantage of economic opportunities and stay connected.

Mayor Bowser Announces New Initiative to Bring Broadband Internet to DC Residents

Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by Chief Technology Officer Lindsey Parker and broadband provider WeLink to announce the Community Internet Program (CIP), a new initiative that will give Internet Service Providers (ISPs) free access to Washington (DC)-owned building rooftops if they commit to providing high-speed connections (at minimum, 200 Mbps download/200 Mbps upload) at reduced or no cost to households eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Their antennas will also serve as neighborhood hubs that will be able to feed internet to residential properties – all at no cost to DC.

How small Kansas companies bring fast internet to rural places that telecom giants ignore

Installing fiber-optic internet in sparsely populated places like western Kansas is extremely expensive, even with government subsidies. But some smaller, local broadband providers are finding ways to make it work where the big national companies have not. Federal and state governments have poured billions into trying to bring more bandwidth to the remote corners of the country. But for many people in rural places, it hasn’t made any difference. An estimated 42 million Americans still don’t have high-speed internet, or what most people today simply think of as internet.

Maine communities lacking broadband look for boost amid record funding

A connection to high-speed and reliable internet is a necessity in most homes, but tens of thousands of Mainers are still lagging behind. According to state data, nearly 80,000 households in Maine don't meet the minimum standard for high-speed internet. The State of Maine is expected to distribute a record amount of funding in 2022 to help connect the tens of thousands of residents who are considered unserved by high-speed internet.

Local Areas Band Together for Rural Broadband in Nebraska

Loup Power District is developing a funding resolution that can lead to the construction of a 300-mile backbone network to help area farmers receive high-speed broadband. The effort will affect residents in four rural counties: Boone, Colfax, Nance and Platte (NE). The power company is developing a funding resolution that would be executed by each public entity involved in a potential backbone network in the four-county area.

El Paso, Texas, approves $154 million from federal COVID-19 funds to city programs

The city of El Paso (TX) is shifting its focus from providing COVID-19 relief to recovery as the county experiences low weekly coronavirus cases. More than $154 million were allocated from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds in accordance with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) requirements to various departments and programs across the city. Of this funding, El Paso is devoting $10 million to last-mile broadband infrastructure to expand the city's backbone to areas 54 percent below the poverty line.

Minnesota telecom companies are seeking to block a controversial broadband developer from using $311 million in federal grants

The controversial telecom company LTD Broadband has long been criticized by those who argue it can’t deliver high-speed internet to Minnesotans as promised using an unprecedented $311 million in grants from the federal government.

Deep disparities in internet access found across Chicago in new analysis

A new analysis by the University of Chicago has revealed vast differences in internet connectivity across Chicago (IL), with some neighborhoods reporting more than one-third of households offline. Researchers are now working to collect their own data to determine how the internet performs across neighborhoods, with the hope of influencing how $65 billion in federal funds to expand broadband access is distributed.

How Can Universities Help Close the Digital Divide?

With Internet connectivity now viewed as a public necessity for telework and education, universities across the US are partnering with local governments and community organizations on initiatives to expand broadband access and close the digital divide once and for all.

Oakland, California’s New CIO to Tackle Digital Divide

Oakland (CA)’s new chief information officer Tony Batalla said he would work to reduce internet access gaps in the city and support digital literacy efforts. Oakland is home to a major port, adjacent to the University of California, Berkeley, and near Silicon Valley, but along with those economic advantages are some neighborhoods in the city beset by crime and poverty. Batalla, who started May 2, sees internet access and technology helping address the needs of those communities.