Marginalized Populations

Marginalized populations are those excluded from mainstream social, economic, educational, and/or cultural life. Examples of marginalized populations include, but are not limited to, groups excluded due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, language, and/or immigration status.

(August 19, 2022)

How COVID-19 Impacted U.S. Residential Internet Perceptions

This study analyzes how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered individual perceptions of Internet service providers (ISPs) and Internet importance, reliability, and status as an essential public utility (EPU). The authors found that lower-income, younger, women and racial-ethnic minority participants had lower ISP and Internet reliability perceptions. The pandemic increased the perception of the Internet as an EPU by 15% and access to in-home Information and Communication Technology was significantly related to perceptions of Internet importance and reliability.

FCC Cellular Broadband Mapping

One of the most common complaints I hear from rural folks is the lack of good cellular coverage. Poor cellular coverage doesn’t seem to have gotten the same press as poor broadband, but not having access to cell phones might be more of a daily challenge than the lack of broadband. The Federal Communications Commission maps only ask a cellular carrier to show if it meets the FCC definition of cellular broadband, which is embarrassingly low: 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload is considered covered for 4G.

State Broadband Offices Should Emphasize Adoption and Sustainability

As states begin to receive funds from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Act, they need to lay the groundwork for high adoption and fiscal sustainability said Brookings Institute panelists. The majority of the BEAD program’s $42.5 billion in funding has yet to be disbursed, and state allocations are expected by June 2023.

Biden-Harris Administration Awards More Than $5.7 Million to New Mexico in ‘Internet for All’ Planning Grants

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that New Mexico received its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative.

Commissioner Starks Statement on Passage of Prison Phone Reform

Congress passed the bipartisan Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2022, which restores the Commission’s authority to ensure service providers charge “just and reasonable rates” for intrastate and interstate calls and other communications methods used by incarcerated individuals in correctional facilities. The legislation is the result of the dedication of the late Martha Wright, who led the charge in 2003 to create positive change and ensure families with incarcerated individuals had the ability to stay in contact with their loved ones by eliminating the burden of

Chairwoman Rosenworcel on Bill Addressing Egregious Prison Phone Rates

Too many families of incarcerated people must pay outrageous rates to stay connected with their loved ones. This harms the families and children of the incarcerated—and it harms all of us because regular contact with kin can reduce recidivism. The FCC has for years moved aggressively to address this terrible problem, but we have been limited in the extent to which we can address rates for calls made within a state’s borders.

Advocates Applaud Passage of the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2022

The Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2022 was passed by the House of Representatives and is headed to the President’s desk. This historic victory comes a decade after Color Of Change, its members and partners pressured Securus, the largest prison telecom company, to publicly support the prison phone justice legislation after decades of opposing it. The legislation gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to establish maximum service rates in prisons for communication providers.

Virginia Democrats move to elect state’s first Black woman to Congress

Democrats in a vacant Richmond-based congressional district nominated Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) for the seat, putting her on a path to becoming the state’s first Black woman in Congress. State Sen McClellan received 85 percent of the vote, compared to 14 percent for State Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), and less than 1 percent each for two other candidates. State Sen McClellan is the vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and a former gubernatorial candidate.

Reactions to the FCC's Steps to Combat Digital Discrimination

"Today we move forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking," said Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. "This document builds on our earlier efforts. That means we now seek more targeted comment on how to define digital discrimination. We also propose reforms to our consumer complaint system to create a dedicated pathway for digital discrimination complaints. And we propose to adopt the model policies and best practices for states and localities that our Communications Equity and Diversity Council recently adopted.

New FCC Data Confirms Cable Gigabit Speeds Are Deployed Equitably

Before the US can accomplish the important task of connecting all Americans, it is important to understand where broadband already exists in both rural and urban areas. Having accurate data about existing broadband networks will enable billions of federal and state funding and other resources to be dedicated where they are needed most (communities without service). The newly released Federal Communications Commission Broadband Map is just the first iteration and needs to be further refined through the challenge process.