Telecommunication

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:

Industry and worker groups talk takeaways from $45 billion broadband funding notice

Experts from three key industry and worker groups dished on what they view as the key hits and misses in the US government’s broadband policy after the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued rules that will guide the distribution of $45 billion in funding for network rollouts. Among other things, they spotlighted a focus on fiber, secure networks, state planning grants and workforce provisions.

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Support Authorized for 830 Winning Bids

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau, in conjunction with the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force and the Office of Economics and Analytics, authorizes Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (Auction 904) support for another 830 winning bids. For each of the winning bids, the FCC has reviewed the long-form application information, including the letter(s) of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter(s) from the long-form applicant’s legal counsel.

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.