Communication at a distance, especially the electronic transmission of signals via the telephone
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?
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:
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:
[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:
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:
[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:
T-Mobile is introducing a new prepaid promotion with incentives for customers on other prepaid MVNOs to switch to Metro by T-Mobile, including waiving switching fees, a discount on an unlimited plan with 5G, and a trade-in offer for a new 5G phone. In other words, it’s doing exactly what it told regulators it wouldn’t do when it acquired Sprint a year ago.
Verizon’s Fios business continued to flourish in the second quarter as its broadband subscriber base rose again. During the quarter, Verizon added 92,000 Consumer Fios Internet customers. Total Fios revenues were up 5.4 percent year-over-year, driven by continued broadband subscriber growth. It ended the quarter with a total of 6.4 million Fios subscribers. Consumer Fios revenues of $2.9 billion in second-quarter 2021 were the highest since the company's new operating structure was introduced in 2019.
5G is considered a key technology for society, but its implementation is surrounded by controversy. Beyond its technical aspects, 5G has become a question of security and national interest for many EU Member States as well as an international policy issue. Technological autonomy and digital sovereignty are increasingly recognized as strategic priorities on a global scale, yet the EU's position is unique for two reasons. On one hand, the EU has unintentionally become part of the playing field in the US-China dispute over technology companies and 5G.
BAI Communications' £1 billion project to enable fiber broadband for Tube passengers and aboveground London businesses signals the coming of age of alternative networks, or "alt-nets," who are spending huge amounts of money to compete in the increasingly crowded UK market. About 50 such companies, backed by funds promising billions of pounds, have burst onto the scene in recent years pledging to take the fight to Openreach, the networking division of incumbent BT, as well as Virgin Media’s cable network. Ranging from those targeting customers in underserved rural areas to others seeking to