Kenergy, an electric cooperative looking to provide broadband internet to unserved areas in west Kentucky, is waiting for the state to approve a waiver that would allow the project to move forward. Kenergy provides electricity to members in 14 counties. The nonprofit cooperative is hoping to eventually provide high-speed internet services to more than 44,000 unserved home and business members as well. But there is a hurdle. Under Kentucky law, regulated cooperatives, like Kenergy, can only borrow money to provide electricity — not for other services, like broadband.
New America's Open Technology Institute sent a letter to the House of Representatives in advance of a hearing on oversight of the Federal Communications Commission, highlighting many failures and lost opportunities over the past four years at the agency, including:
Comcast Announces Multiyear Effort to Roll Out 1,000+ WiFi-Connected 'Lift Zones' in Local Community Centers Nationwide
Comcast announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 Wi-Fi-connected “Lift Zones” in community centers nationwide. Working with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners and city leaders, Comcast will provide Wi-Fi in facilities they have identified to help students get online, participate in distance learning, and do their schoolwork. The initiative will provide not only free Internet connectivity, but also access to hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.
As fall semester gets into full swing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, schools are noticing a concerning trend: Low-income students are the most likely to drop out or not enroll at all, raising fears that they might never get a college degree.
Top House Democrats outlined aspirations to tackle broadband issues in 2021 under what they hope is President Joe Biden. “I promise you all we will restore net neutrality and make our broadband networks more competitive,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), who chairs the House telecom subcommittee and envisions continuing to do so. If President Donald Trump wins re-election, the digital divide will widen, Chairman Doyle added.
On Aug 13, 2020, House Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) led Democratic Communications Subcommittee members in writing to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge the FCC to provide unlimited voice minutes and unlimited mobile data to Lifeline recipients, with an increase in the basic support amount to offset any associated incremental costs, for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
Special Authority To Enable Funding of Broadband and Smart Utility Facilities Across Select Rural Development Programs
The Rural Utilities Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and Rural Housing Service, agencies that comprise the Rural Development Mission Area within the United States Department of Agriculture, are issuing this final rule to establish the authority authorized by Section 6210 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which will assist rural families and small businesses in gaining access to broadband service by permitting recipients of a loan, grant, or loan guarantee from RD to use up to 10 percent of the amount provided to construct broadband infrastructure in areas not served by
Mayor Byron Brown’s office wants to address some of the broadband issues in Buffalo, New York, but first it needs to figure out what those issues are. One of those broad issues is basic access. According to the latest American Communities survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, between 20 to 30 percent of city residents don’t have a broadband internet subscription at home. "It’s a significant problem," said Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning for the City of Buffalo.
A dispute has erupted over a $2.5 million POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission that would deliver high-speed broadband to Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams says Comcast and corporate telecommunications lobbyists are actively trying to stop the city from receiving the grant funding for its “Thundercloud” project. “Unfortunately, we are learning that Comcast, which only provides a fraction of the level of high-speed broadband that they claim to provide, is actively trying to torpedo this project and our grant application,” Mayor Williams said.
Mainers are sharing their stories of poor internet access as part of an effort to get the Federal Communications Commission to update its map to more accurately reflect the inadequacy of internet service in many areas of the country, particularly rural areas.