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 Launches Proceeding on In-State Calling Rates for Incarcerated People
The Federal Communications Commission seeks comment on its expanded authority over incarcerated people’s communications services, as outlined in the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2022. The new law gives the FCC authority to combat unjust and unreasonable rates and charges for voice and video calls, including calls within a state’s borders, where previously the agency had rate-making authority only over voice calls between states and foreign locations.
Sens. Hickenlooper, Capito, Tester, Moran Reintroduce Bill to Strengthen Broadband Supply Chain
US Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) reintroduced the Network Equipment Transparency (NET) Act, a bipartisan bill to increase broadband supply chain transparency through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to ensure an on-time rollout of federal broadband programs. Broadband infrastructure projects have been affected by supply chain woes in the past.
Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Tackle National Security Threats from Foreign Tech
Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) led a group of 12 bipartisan senators to introduce the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act, legislation that will comprehensively address the ongoing threat posed by technology from foreign adversaries by better empowering the Department of Commerce to review, prevent, and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security. The Act would: