A Public Housing Digital Inclusion Blueprint

At least 100,000 San Francisco residents lack adequate Internet access and miss out on economic and educational benefits. A new model -- developed by Monkeybrains, a local Internet service provider (ISP), and the city of San Francisco -- successfully bridges this digital divide for public housing residents. Thanks to low start-up and maintenance costs, the solution will be financially self-sustaining for years to come. If you want to get a program like this going in your city, here are key points:

FCC Seeks Nominations For New BDAC Working Group Focused On Increasing Broadband Investment In Low-Income Communities

The Federal Communications Commission solicits nominations for membership on a new Increasing Broadband Investment in Low-Income Communities Working Group of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). This new working group will assist the BDAC in providing advice and recommendations to the Commission on new ways to encourage the deployment of high-speed broadband infrastructure and services to low-income communities. The work of this new BDAC group will help further the Commission’s top priority—closing the digital divide for all Americans.

Concerns About FCC's Upcoming Broadband Deployment Progress Report

The National Hispanic Media Coalition joined Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, United Church of Christ and members of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Media/Telecom Task Force in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission expressing concern over proposed findings in the agency’s upcoming Broadband Deployment Progress Report. They requested the FCC:

A T-Mobile-Sprint merger would be onerous for California's working families

A proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless operators, would have a profound impact on Californians. Wireless prices will rise so the merger will be particularly onerous for customers on tight budgets. In California especially, low-income customers tend to be people of color and immigrants. The merger would therefore disproportionately burden this vulnerable group — many of whom rely on cellphones as their only form of internet access.

The Racial Digital Divide Persists

In 2016, Free Press released Digital Denied, which showed that disparities in broadband adoption — commonly known as the digital divide —stem not only from income inequality, but from systemic racial discrimination. The report found that nearly half of all people in the country without home-internet access were people of color. Much of that gap was indeed the result of income inequality.

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC

In a letter recording a meeting between the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) and the legal advisors to two Federal Communications Commission commissioners, the industry group "emphasized that the Commission’s goals would be better served by directing support to areas that lack any service at all and those that have access only below 10/1 Mbps."  "WISPA supports the Commission’s goal that all consumers nationwide, including in rural areas, should ultimately have access to 25/3 M

Road Map to Connecting the Under-connected: Towns and cities at core of digital inclusion policies and partnerships

In the hopes of increasing digital equity, here are some observations and suggestions for framing, enacting and collectively furthering digital inclusion policy. 1) Terminology helps frame policy. 2) Anchor policy in comprehensive frameworks. 3) Government has a role as a convener & participant, but not a singular responsibility. 4) Digital inclusion planning and policy should be intentional, and also nurtured. 5) Build community capacity and work with trusted ambassadors.

Accumulating phones: Aid and adaptation in phone access for the urban poor

This study draws on participant observation and interviews with low-income adults in Chicago to show how the poor stay connected to phone service and mobile Internet through the possession of multiple phones, including those subsidized by government aid. The “accumulation” of phones by individuals is widely observed, though underexplored in scholarship. Popular media coverage in the US frames the possession of multiple phones by people in poverty as criminal or excessive.

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.

How Governments Can Keep Disaster Survivors Connected

There's no better time for state and local governments to get serious about developing proactive approaches to keeping residents connected in the days, months and years following a natural disaster. Among the programs that should be advertised to disaster survivors is the federal Lifeline program, which provides a subsidy that covers all or a portion of the cost of wireless voice and internet services for low-income consumers who qualify.