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:

Frontier plans 495,000 new fiber passings in 2021

Frontier Communications emerged from bankruptcy. The company's new strategy has everything to do with deploying more fiber. Frontier plans to double its fiber network to ultimately pass more than 6 million homes and businesses. In 2021, it plans to extend its fiber to pass 495,000 more locations. It’s already extended the network to pass an additional 100,000 new locations in the first quarter. Frontier’s network, comprised of fiber and copper connections, spans 25 states.

FCC May Open Meeting Agenda

The next open meeting of the Federal Communications Commission will be May 20, 2021. Here's the proposed agenda:​

Senate Commerce Committee Advances Broadband Bills

The Senate Commerce Committee approved a number of bills and nominations in executive session including two of particular interest:

FCC Commissioner Starks Remarks to Supply Chain integrity Workshop

Today we gather during National Supply Chain Integrity Month to discuss ways to strengthen our supply chain against potential bad actors. Policymakers must ensure that small and mid-sized carriers have access to equipment and services that are not only secure but make good business sense.