Stories from Abroad

Since 2010, the Benton Foundation and the New America Foundation have partnered to highlight telecommunications debates from countries outside the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with Microsoft data privacy fight

Supreme Court justices wrestled with Microsoft’s dispute with the US Justice Department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signaling support for the government and others urging Congress to pass a law to resolve the issue. Microsoft argues that laws have not caught up to modern computing infrastructure and it should not hand over data stored internationally. The Justice Department argues that refusing to turn over easily accessible data impedes criminal investigations.

Google and Meta’s subsea cables mark a tectonic shift in how the internet works and who controls it.

For more than a decade, US tech giants have had designs on building Africa’s internet. Alphabet is now at work on Project Taara, a “moonshot” project to connect rural Africa and other locations to the internet, using balloons floating in the stratosphere. Project Taara aims to repurpose Alphabet's previous Loon project's balloons’ airborne lasers.

Facebook Deliberately Caused Havoc in Australia to Influence New Law

Last year when Facebook blocked news in Australia in response to potential legislation making platforms pay publishers for content, it also took down the pages of Australian hospitals, emergency services and charities. It publicly called the resulting chaos “inadvertent.” Internally, the pre-emptive strike was hailed as a strategic masterstroke.

Private participation in government-led backbone network projects

This study presents an ex-post comparative assessment of the relative performance of three Latin American broadband network emblematic projects implemented through public-private projects (PPP). Results show that the relative performance of these projects is extremely sensitive to differences in contractual design and regulatory approaches applied in each case. The detailed examination and comparative analysis of these experiences allowed us to extract important lessons in terms of design and implementation of PPP in the telecommunications sector.

Journalism is under "digital siege"

The global climate for journalists has become more perilous as autocrats weaponize the media to consolidate power. Those efforts are increasingly being carried out through surveillance and digital attacks.

European telecom companies seek network investment from Big Tech and streamers

The European Union should make big tech and video streaming companies pay at least some of the estimated €28 billion they cost European telecom groups for their outsized use of network infrastructure, according to a new industry report. A small number of video, social media and tech companies — including Facebook owner Meta, Netflix and Amazon — account for more than 55 percent of all traffic on mobile and broadband networks, according to research commissioned by the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association and conducted by the consultancy firm Axon.

Rural broadband: Gaps, maps and challenges

This paper examines challenges to evidence-based decision-making in the design and implementation of rural broadband investment programs. Our focus is on Canada, and the apparent need for further intra-rural broadband research and better data and mapping for informing public investment decisions, but similar challenges are evident in the international literature.

Impact of high-speed broadband access on local establishment dynamics

The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between high-speed fibre broadband access and establishment dynamics at the municipality level. Special emphasis is placed on micro as well as on small and medium-sized establishments in contracting areas. Data cover information on 290 municipalities in Sweden for the period 2010–2018. Results of Fixed Effects and Spatial Durbin model estimations reveal a significant but rather small direct effect of lagged high-speed broadband access, driven by the micro establishments.

Blessing or curse? The effect of broadband Internet on China’s inter-city income inequality

The information and communication technology, represented by the broadband Internet, has made a profound impact on Chinese urban labor market.

Digital Services Act: Council and European Parliament provisional agreement for making the internet a safer space for European citizens

The European Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA), a world first in the field of digital regulation. The DSA follows the principle that what is illegal offline must also be illegal online. It aims to protect the digital space against the spread of illegal content, and to ensure the protection of users’ fundamental rights. The DSA will apply to all online intermediaries providing services in the European Union.