[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:
The National Hispanic Media Coalition, Color of Change, NAACP and the Benton Foundation are among the organizations concerned about proposed changes to the Lifeline program, which is on the docket for the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming open meeting. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai -- who has long called for reforms to deter waste, fraud and abuse in Lifeline -- is seeking a vote at the agency’s Nov. 16 meeting on a major overhaul of the program, which subsidizes phone and broadband service for the poor.
Libraries are a lynchpin for national, state, and local digital inclusion efforts—particularly our 16,500+ public library locations across the country.
Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA) wants the Federal Communications Commission to tap into more state and local government input on broadband deployment, suggesting the FCC’s goal now is to serve industry and tie the hands of those local governments. That came in a letter Rep Eshoo sent to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the other commissioners Nov 7. Rep Eshoo wants to see more state and local officials on the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC).
New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) and Access Now filed comments urging the Federal Communications Commission to recognize the inadequate state of broadband availability in the United States.
Seattle is one of the most “connected” cities in the country. 95% of Seattle households have internet access in the place where they live. But internet adoption is lacking in specific geographic areas and is driven primarily by the affordability of broadband service. Despite an extensive and robust broadband infrastructure, unfortunately, there is still a 5% gap in internet adoption for Seattle residents. This gap is concentrated geographically in certain areas of the City.
On the Wrong Side of the Digital Divide: Life Without Internet Access And Why We Must Fix It In the Age of COVID-19
Prior to the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, Greenlining asked residents of two California communities, Fresno and Oakland, to share their struggles with internet access and found these common themes, all of which have been made more urgent by the pandemic: 1) Internet access is not a luxury, 2) Lack of access creates significant hurdles for everyday life, 3) Smartphone access is insufficient, 4) Internet plans designed for low-income families are inadequate, 5) Lack of access is a barrier to academic success.
Built by E-Rate A Case Study of Two Tribally-Owned Fiber Networks and the Role of Libraries in Making It Happen
Six tribal libraries and two schools in north-central New Mexico aggregated their demand for broadband and built two tribally-owned and -operated, 60-mile fiber-optic networks. The first tribal projects of their kind since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the E-rate modernization in 2014, and the largest E-rate award in the state of New Mexico in 2016—the highspeed broadband networks deliver superior speeds at significantly lower costs, with an ability to scale their usage to meet future broadband demand.
How courageous schools partnering with local communities can overcome digital inequalities during COVID-19
Leveraging high-speed broadband access, I present several ideas for ensuring all K-12 students can learn during a time of in-person schooling shutdowns and other uncertainties: transform vacant local establishments into classrooms and provide technology access through unused business equipment; enable Wi-Fi in federally assisted housing or in parked school buses; reconfigure digital parking lots into digital parks; and utilize local organizations to help solve local digital access challenges.