Report on past event

Local Officials Share Insights on How Broadband Impacts Population Growth, Economic Development, and Education in Illinois

The University of Illinois Extension Local Government Education Program and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Illinois Office of Broadband partnered with the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society to implement the Developing Broadband Leadership Webinar Series. The leadership series is a four-part workshop launched as part of the Connect Illinois initiative, a phased $420 million initiative implemented to expand broadband in unserved and underserved municipalities statewide. On May 13, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B.

The FCC has received hundreds of complaints about carriers’ coronavirus pledge

In a statement to the House Commerce Committee, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency has received around 2,200 complaints related to theCOVID-19 pandemic. Of those complaints, 1,400 have received a response from the carrier, Chairman Pai said. Around 500 of those total complaints were filed specifically about the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge, the agency’s primary response to the pandemic.

FCC shouldn't delay broadband upgrades for better data, industry tells lawmakers

Efforts from the Federal Communications Commission to expand both fixed-wireless and mobile broadband across rural America will require more granular data to reach their full potential, but deployment efforts shouldn’t be delayed any longer, according to industry stakeholders and legislators testifying at a Senate hearing. The FCC has acknowledged that its data-collection processes are fundamentally flawed as carriers have overstated coverage in their self-reported map data.

The State of Broadband Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Senate Commerce Committee examined the ongoing initiatives led by the Federal Communications Commission to maintain and expand high-speed and reliable broadband connections to all Americans during this national public health emergency. The hearing also examined the impact of funds provided through the CARES Act to support broadband initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels, and legislative proposals focused on addressing the digital divide during the COVID-19 outbreak. Senators were joined by four witnesses: 

What's on the FTC's Radar During COVID-19

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons told House lawmakers that the agency is “very, very closely” watching how contact tracing efforts by Google, Apple and other tech companies affect Americans’ privacy. “We are all over that,” Chairman Simons said during a call with House Commerce Committee lawmakers, adding that the FTC has been talking to the companies involved. Chairman Simons noted that one of the major players in the effort, Google, is already under an FTC order to uphold certain privacy standards.

The $5.25 Billion Cost to Connect Students at Home During COVID-19

On April 30, the SHLB Coalition partnered with CoSN, Funds For Learning, and SETDA to share the funding and policy actions necessary to connect students, teachers, and library patrons. Schools have either closed or shifted to online learning to mitigate further spread of COVID-19. According to analysis from Funds For Learning, at least 7.15 million U.S. households are unable to show up for class because they lack broadband access at home.

FCC Commissioner Starks on COVID-19 and the Digital Divide

On April 7, the Joint Center convened a panel of experts and key stakeholders for an online policy forum with Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks to discuss the concept of a “connectivity stimulus” to ensure that people in all communities in the United States are connected and have access to online education and economic opportunities during and following the COVID-19 crisis.

ISPs' COVID Response Said To Negate Net Neutrality Rules

Generous actions from internet service providers during the coronavirus pandemic prove that broad, now-repealed net neutrality rules were always unnecessary, said Roslyn Layton, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Layton said that service providers’ offers to waive cancellations and fees while many Americans are struggling financially demonstrate that ISPs are acting with customers’ best interests in mind and do not require close government oversight.

Lack of Symmetrical Networks May be Choking Internet Performance

Local broadband speeds may be impaired by upload speed. "That upstream is really where we’re in trouble,” said Gary Bolton, the vice president of global marketing at ADTRAN, referring to unprecedented demand for needing to upload content to the internet, mainly the webcam and audio data you need to broadcast to participate in a Zoom meeting. Bolton predicted that this crunch on upstream will lead to an explosion for demand for broadband buildout.

Senate examines data, privacy in coronavirus ‘paper hearing’

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold one of the first known congressional “paper hearings” to discuss the use of personal data during the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced Capitol Hill to move much of its business online. The session, as the name indicates, will be carried out entirely through written statements, questions and responses set to be posted online, with witnesses having four days to respond to queries from lawmakers after the end of business April 9.