Upcoming policy issue

The American Jobs Plan

The American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China. Specifically, President Biden’s plan will:

What Will the FCC Do Next with Lifeline?

What constitutes a lifeline in 2021? Is it a phone? A smartphone? A fixed-location broadband connection? Or some combination of all these services?

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:

The FCC Ignores Reality in 5G Proposal

The Coalition for Local Internet Choice and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors asked for my view of the Federal Communications Commission’s pending order, proposing to cap the fees that state and local governments may charge for small-cell attachments. According to the FCC’s draft order, these price‐caps will save the industry $2 billion in costs to operate in metropolitan areas—which will translate into $2.5 billion in new wireless investment, primarily in rural areas. Here are my concerns:

Regulatory Oversight and Privacy Policy for an Open Internet Ecosystem

In my previous post, I highlighted four reasons why the U.S needs a unified policy framework for an open Internet ecosystem: 1) lack of competition/incentive and the ability to discriminate; 2) collection of and control over personal data; 3) lack of transparency; and 4) inadequacy of current laws and enforcement. Many of these problems can be addressed with targeted legislative and regulatory interventions.

The U.S. Needs a New Policy Framework for an Open Internet Ecosystem

[Analysis] In a new article for the Georgetown Law Technology Review, I seek to jumpstart a conversation about how to shape an Internet ecosystem that will serve the public interest. First, let me lay out the rationale for a new, unified policy framework for an open Internet: 1) Lack of Competition/Incentive and Ability to Discriminate, 2) Collection of and Control over Personal Data, 3) Lack of Transparency, and 4) Inadequacy of Current Laws and Enforcement.

Statement of Chairman Ajit Pai On Sinclair/Tribune Transaction

Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction. The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law. When the FCC confronts disputed issues like these, the Communications Act does not allow it to approve a transaction. Instead, the law requires the FCC to designate the transaction for a hearing in order to get to the bottom of those disputed issues.

The federal government is rolling out record amounts of broadband funding. It could be just the beginning

The new broadband affordability programs [the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and the Emergency Connectivity Fund] are just temporary — and advocates say lawmakers need to develop a long-term program that will ensure low-income Americans can afford the Internet. “We’re not going back to 2019,” said Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn. “The digital divide doesn’t end when the pandemic ends.

Now is the Time to Get the Questions Right

For those of us who spent the last four years fighting a totally depressing battle against the last Administration’s nuclear attack on the public interest, springtime has brought the hope of rebirth, regeneration, and reform.   In media and telecom (my beat) we already see the budding of policies and programs to reverse the nation’s embarrassing broadband shortfalls.  Broadband is now seen as essential infrastructure, as important to twenty-first-century life as electricity was to the twentieth.  Not only that, but understanding broadband as a civil right seems to be taking hold.  Better la

How the homework gap may actually be the key to solving our digital divide

Beyond supporting students, information being collected by schools across the country could prove useful when addressing the problem of the digital divide. The work to close the so-called homework gap, exacerbated when the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools and forced 50 million students to suddenly adopt remote learning, could also provide the federal and state governments a roadmap toward fixing the broader digital divide problem. The homework gap is a subset of a much larger d