State

Broadband restoration efforts in Florida hindered by power outages, flooding

Wireline operators are battling to bring residents in Florida back online as quickly as possible in the wake of Hurricane Ian, but conditions on the ground are making it hard to get to all the sites in need of repair. According to Federal Communications Commission data, the storm knocked out wireline service for nearly 526,000 people after it made landfall on September 28.

Prison calls are wildly expensive. California just made them free

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed into law a bill that makes phone calls from California’s prisons free of charge.

Broadband Gaps Linger in New York State’s Small Towns

New state data shows 2.5 percent of New York households lack the ability to hook up to the Internet. More than 132,000 households lack the ability to access broadband in New York. The town of Red House in Cattaraugus County is completely unserved. Twenty-nine towns, six school districts and four of the 10 tribal territories in the state have less than half of their residences with access to broadband. Internet providers warn that government broadband grants may not be able to cover the costs of building the services in locations where there may be fewer than five homes per square mile.

Efforts underway to provide high speed internet access to rural areas of Illinois

Now that the federal government included billions of tax dollars in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve internet access to more areas, the task of broadband mapping in Illinois is underway.

Broadband Mapping By and For Communities

On Monday, September 26, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Director of Research and Fellowships Dr. Revati Prasad hosted an online panel discussion, From the Ground Up: Broadband Mapping By and for Communities, on how communities and states are collecting data on local broadband availability as the Federal Communications Commission rolls out the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program.

California abortion-info law ups stakes in online war between states

California's unprecedented new law to bolster protections for abortion-related personal information held by tech companies marks a new phase in the deepening legal fight between red and blue states over digital regulations. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed into law an abortion rights bill with a provision that protects reproductive digital information housed by companies headquartered or incorporated in the state.

Alabama Governor Ivey Awards $82.45 Million for Improved Access to Broadband through Alabama Middle-Mile Network

Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) awarded an $82.45 million grant to help make statewide broadband service availability a more attainable goal throughout Alabama.

$447 million broadband infrastructure investments for dozens of Tennessee counties

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is awarding $446,770,282 in grants for the expansion of internet access across Tennessee. Nearly $50 million more will be directed to broadband adoption and digital literacy efforts. More than 150,000 unserved homes and businesses in 58 counties receiving broadband access. Priority was given to applicants with the lowest internet speeds, though all “unserved” areas (where only services with speeds below 100 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload) were considered for the grant.

Communities collect granular broadband data amid wait for better federal maps

States have begun to produce their own mapping data for Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grant allocation.

Lobbying the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Rules

Thirteen Republican Senators sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) asking the agency to change its approach to administering some of the provisions of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grants. The letter specifically asked for changes related to rate regulation, technology preference, provider preference, workforce requirements, middle mile deployments, and the application review process (You can read the letter here). It’s