Localism

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.

The coming digital divide: What to do, and not do, about it

The economic reality of varied broadband deployments is that communities with the fastest speeds are most likely to benefit from competition among providers, which further pushes prices down. Thus, we soon will have a divide in which certain dense and high-income communities will have multiple choices for affordable gigabit services, while less dense, lower-income communities may still be stuck with a DSL offering that is 100 times slower but similarly priced.

Mayors Eye Two-Pronged Attack on FCC’s Preemptive 5G Order

Mayors expressed optimism  a new House bill could provide an alternative path to overturning a Federal Communications Commission order preempting local authority over fifth-generation wireless deployments. H.R. 530, authored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), would undo rules that went into partial effect on Jan. 14 requiring cities to move on wireless providers’ small cell applications within set timeframes while capping fees to access public rights of way.

Chairmen Pallone and Doyle Question FCC on Potential Effort to Game Judicial Lottery

House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr.

Rural Americans Are Rebooting the Spirit of the Internet

Today there are nearly 900 rural co-ops still providing their communities with electricity. A DIY success story! Now history repeats itself—with broadband. Thirty-nine percent of rural Americans had no access to home broadband in 2016 (compared with 4 percent of folks in urban areas), because big telcos say it’s too expensive to build affordable fiber-optic broadband in the countryside. Residents have to make do with dialup or Wi-Fi from a library. So co-ops are solving the problem again.

Why San Jose Kids Do Homework in Parking Lots

More than 10.7 million low-income households in the United States lack access to quality internet service. In cities like San Jose (CA), local governments are using streetlight poles to facilitate equitable access to high-speed internet to dramatically improve educational outcomes for low-income students and expand economic opportunity for their families.

FCC Commissioner Carr, San Jose Mayor Spar Over 5G

The Federal Communications Commission's Brendan Carr is taking off the gloves in a fight with San Jose (CA) Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We must do better than Mayor Liccardo’s failed broadband policies,” Commissioner Carr wrote on Twitter  in response to a Liccardo op-ed. “Under his 3+ year leadership, San Jose approved zero small cells-ZERO-depriving residents of broadband options.

Rural Maine communities taking lack of broadband into their own hands

Many rural communities in Maine have been waiting decades for the major internet service providers to bring broadband service to their areas, a situation exacerbated by the state having the second slowest internet speeds in the country. The lack of broadband is a deterrent to would-be residents and businesses, and it thwarts local efforts at economic development. It also deprives existing residents of opportunities for entertainment, education, employment, and digital health services.

EPB, Chattanooga's municipal power utility, tops 100,000 fiber optic customers

When EPB, Chattanooga's municipal power utility, launched its Internet, video, and phone services nearly a decade ago in conjunction with its efforts to build a smarter electric grid, the city-owned utility projected it should attract more than 30,000 customers of its telecom services within five years to cover its costs and break even.

5G is coming, but not everyone is happy about it

For 5G, rather than relying on the huge cellular towers that already loom over industrial parks and shopping centers, carriers are counting on "small cell" antennas placed only hundreds of feet apart. About the size of a backpack, a small cell is typically installed atop an existing utility pole or streetlight, sometimes with other equipment closer to the ground. The small antennas are less powerful than cell towers, covering an area of up to 1,000 feet rather than a few miles. So carriers need more of them to blanket a neighborhood.

The Expanding News Desert

For residents in thousands of communities across the country – inner-city neighborhoods, affluent suburbs and rural towns– local newspapers have been the prime, if not sole, source of credible and comprehensive news and information that can affect the quality of their everyday lives. Yet, in the past decade and a half, nearly one in five newspapers has disappeared, and countless others have become shells – or “ghosts” – of themselves. Our research found a net loss since 2004 of almost 1,800 local newspapers.