Maryland governor signs online data privacy bills

Governor Wes Moore (D-MD) signed two measures into law that are aimed at better protecting personal data online from Big Tech, including a bill making Maryland the second state to try to create strong limits on information collected on children. The measure, known as the Maryland Kids Code, seeks to limit data that could be collected from children online and protect them from being flooded with harmful material they were not trying to find. Supporters say the new law aimed at protecting children was crafted to withstand court challenges like one that halted a California law.

Biden-Harris Administration Approves District of Columbia, Delaware and Washington’s “Internet for All” Initial Proposal

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has approved the District of Columbia, Delaware and Washington state’s Initial Proposals for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative. This approval will enable the District of Columbia, Delaware and Washington to request access to funding and begin implementation of the BEAD program—a major step towards closing the digital divide and meeting the President’s goal of connecting everyone in America w

Los Angeles County chooses WeLink to serve FWA to 275,000 locations

In 2021, Los Angeles County leaders decided they wanted to close the digital divide in some underserved areas. So, the county issued a request for proposal, soliciting bids from broadband providers. Surprisingly, WeLink, a relatively unknown fixed wireless access (FWA) provider, won the contract, beating out incumbents such as AT&T and Charter Communications.

Leadership Transition for Illinois Broadband Lab Collaborators

Devon Braunstein is taking the helm as Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Broadband at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Matt Schmit is poised to join the Illinois Broadband Lab at the University of Illinois System as Senior Director for Broadband.

Washington Public Works Board approves $21 million in broadband construction, pre-construction, and emergency grants and loans

The Washington State Public Works Board (PWB) recently approved $21 million in critical infrastructure projects in 10 communities for broadband construction, pre-construction, and emergency funding. Taking action at its May 3, 2024 business meeting, the PWB approved $20 million to expand broadband access in unserved communities, $550,000 for two pre-construction projects, and two emergency infrastructure projects for $514,500.

Windstream, Georgia Electric Co-Op Partner on $39 Million Public-Private Partnership

Windstream, Colquitt Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC) and Lowndes County (GA), are teaming up on a $39 million public-private partnership to bring broadband to about 16,000 locations in the county. Windstream is contributing about $17.6 million. The other $21.7 million is funded through the Georgia State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the county. Windstream will handle cost overruns. The project, which will provide multi-gigabit service to users, will include 806 miles of fiber.

Preparing for the End of the Affordable Connectivity Program in New York City

The Affordable Connectivity Program has 23 million participants nationwide—including 1.9 million households in New York State and nearly 1 million households in New York City. As broadband access becomes increasingly essential for connecting with education, employment, and services—and New Yorkers grapple with a widespread affordability crisis—New York can’t afford to reverse course on making broadband more affordable. Congress still has time to act in May to reauthorize funding for the ACP and New York’s congressional delegation should lead the charge.

Tennessee Provider United Communications Taps Electric Company Ties to Expand Broadband

Broadband provider United Communications and majority owner Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) are partnering to expand the scope of a major fiber buildout that they undertook in 2023. They are expanding a fiber build in Williamson County, Tennessee. Construction in that county was initially designed to reach 2,800 addresses but the new target is 8,000 locations. Funding for the initial stage of the Williamson County project came through Project UNITE, an initiative consisting of United, MTE and Duck River Electric Membership Corporation.

Inside libraries' battle for better e-book access

Librarians are mounting a fierce state-by-state battle against the high prices they pay to provide patrons with e-books—so far, with little to show for it. Th

A Troubling Decision on Rates

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled recently that federal telecommunications law does not stop states from regulating broadband rates. This was in relation to a 2018 law passed by the State of New York that required internet service providers (ISPs) to offer low-income rate plans for as low as $15 per month. ISPs appealed the new law, and a US District Court issued an injunction against the law. The recent ruling overturned that injunction and puts the law back into effect.