Communication at a distance, especially the electronic transmission of signals via the telephone

FCC Proposes Capping Fund Used to Close the Digital Divide

On Friday, May 31, the Federal Communications Commission launched a proceeding to seek comment on establishing an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF). USF programs provide subsidies that make telecommunications and broadband services more available and affordable for millions of Americans. The NPRM asks a lot of questions over how to cap the programs. But a crucial one we ask: Does this NPRM actually move the U.S. closer to closing the digital divide?

Why is the FCC Talking about a USF Cap?

The Benton Foundation unequivocally opposes any proposals from the Federal Communications Commission that would allow the FCC to shirk its responsibilities to meet its Congressionally-mandated mission. The FCC is supposed to ensure:

Five Steps to Advance Rural Broadband

On March 12, 2019, I was honored to appear before the Senate Communications Subcommittee to testify on “The Impact of Broadband Investments in Rural America.” I provided my personal views, bringing the perspective of a former government official with 22 years of experience at the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration, with the last decade focused on the FCC’s Connect America Fund. My five-minute opening statement follows:

Millions Could Lose Service if FCC 'Reforms' Lifeline Program

[Editorial] The Benton Foundation has joined literally hundreds of organizations that are asking the Federal Communications Commission to ensure Lifeline voice and broadband service for low-income households, with minimal disruption to the people who depend on the program for a consistent connection to the world via their telephone or internet connection. We're asking that the FCC:

FCC Moves to Transform Lifeline Program for Low-Income Americans

The Federal Communications Commission took steps to transform its Lifeline program. A Fourth Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order changes FCC rules to:

The FCC is having a terrible month, and consumers will pay the price

[Commentary] Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is setting a record pace for deregulating the communications industries. Believe it or not, things are about to get worse in Nov. Starting with the FCC’s open meeting on Nov 16, the agency is poised to approve or propose no fewer than four decisions that will deregulate consolidated industries, remove consumer protections, and widen the digital divide:

FCC Proposes Updates to Standards Used in Equipment Authorization

The rapid and widespread deployment of radiofrequency (RF) devices has enabled the communications sector to drive innovation, promote economic growth, and become integral to nearly all aspects of modern life. The Federal Communications Commission’s equipment authorization program is one of the principal ways the agency ensures that the communications equipment people rely on every day, such as their cellphones and Wi-Fi devices, operate effectively without causing harmful interference and otherwise comply with the Commission’s rules.

Verizon Fios posts its best full year net adds since 2014

Verizon’s Fios internet net additions may have slowed year on year in Q4, but CEO Hans Vestberg said its total for the full-year 2021 was the highest in more than five years. The operator posted 106,000 total broadband net additions in the quarter, up from 76,000 in Q4 2020. That figure included 78,000 fixed wireless access (FWA) and 55,000 Fios Internet adds as well as the loss of 27,000 DSL customers. While the quarterly Fios figure was down significantly from 95,000 net additions in Q4 2020, full-year Fios Internet gains in 2021 totaled 360,000.

Midco CTIO says fixed wireless is helping it push fiber further

Midco’s chief technology innovation officer Jon Pederson says the operator’s use of fixed wireless access (FWA) technology to serve certain remote locations is actually benefitting its efforts to expand its fiber network. Pederson, who has worked for the regional US broadband provider for more than three decades, explained Midco deploys fixed wireless access service for customers in some of the most remote parts of its footprint. As it runs fiber to new towers for that service, he said it’s also taking the opportunity to push fiber into nearby communities along the way.