Benton Foundation

The mission of the Benton Foundation is to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications for solving social problems.

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Headlines

  • Nov 23 2014

    The Federal Communications Commission proposed rules to preserve reliable 911 service as technology evolves. The proposals address the increasingly complex nature of the nation’s 911 infrastructure and respond to a recent trend of large-scale “sunny day” 911 outages – that is, outages not due to storms or disasters but instead caused by software and database errors.

  • Nov 23 2014

    Taking steps to facilitate the ongoing transitions in the nation’s communications networks, the Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment on modernizing its rules to ensure access to 911 service, protect consumers, and preserve competition as the transitions move forward.

  • Nov 23 2014

    The Federal Communications Commission’s November 21 meeting was a step forward for the 303 million people residing the in US who depend on some kind of phone service for their personal, business, and emergency communications. The FCC voted to move forward on two proposals that examine the future of the phone network and 911 emergency services. This vote builds on the FCC’s bipartisan, unanimous consensus around core network values that include public safety, universal access, competition, and consumer protection. Public input to the FCC will be instrumental in developing federal guidance for the phone network transitions that protects consumers and vulnerable populations.

  • Nov 23 2014

    The Federal Communications Commission is considering putting policies in place to “facilitate” the sale or auction of copper infrastructure that telephone service providers plan to retire as part of the TDM-to-IP transitions, FCC officials said. Additionally the commission is considering policies aimed at ensuring consumers have battery-powered telephones so that they will be able to make phone calls in the event of a power outage, officials said.

  • Nov 23 2014

    By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau seeks comment on the “Roadmap for Improving E911 Location Accuracy” (Roadmap), filed in the E911 Location Accuracy proceeding (PS Docket No. 07-114) by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), AT&T Mobility, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon (Parties).

  • Nov 23 2014

    By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Wireless Bureau) and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) request updated information to assess whether the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility rules for wireless handsets effectively meet the needs of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.

  • Nov 23 2014

    On November 12, 2014, CenturyLink submitted a Proposal for IP Service Trial and Request for Declaratory Ruling proposing to conduct trials of IP business services and IP exchange of business voice traffic in 12 wire centers in Las Vegas (NV) and requesting a declaratory ruling that CenturyLink’s participation in the trials will not in any way affect its preexisting regulatory obligations related to the exchange of voice traffic with other providers or create any new obligations. The FCC seeks comment on the CenturyLink Proposal and Request for Declaratory Ruling.

  • Nov 23 2014

    The Assistant Secretary and the Chairman applauded the agencies’ joint efforts to identify and make available spectrum previously allocated to federal use. Years of hard effort paved the way for the AWS-3 auction, in which 70 applicants qualified to bid, and ongoing bidding appears to signal considerable commercial interest in this spectrum.

  • Nov 23 2014

    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that the following items will tentatively be on the agenda for the open meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 11, 2014. The FCC will consider ...

  • Nov 23 2014

    The hard truth is there is a digital divide that particularly impacts rural America. Americans living in urban areas are three times more likely to have access to Next Generation broadband than Americans in rural areas. An estimated 15 million Americans, primarily in rural communities, don’t even have access to entry-level broadband in their homes. Forty-one percent of American’s rural schools couldn’t get a high-speed connection if they tried. The FCC can play an important role in bridging these gaps, and I’m circulating two items that will expand access to robust broadband across rural America.

Blog

  • Last week, Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn outlined five principles to bring the Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone service for low-income Americans, into the broadband age. The principles focus on two things we all care about. First, they call for the FCC to improve how the program functions so that more funds go to those who need it, while lessening administrative burden on the companies that provide the benefit to eligible consumers. Second, the principles provide a vision of what consumers and taxpayers get in return. In Commissioner Clyburn’s words: “Broadband is the greatest equalizer of our time.”

  • One of the most important challenges of our generation is to ensure that every child in every classroom has a chance to succeed and win in the global economy. Poverty, discrimination, isolation and ignorance hold our country back. But investments in education, infrastructure and technology spur economic growth, creating more good jobs and wealth for all of us. It is in our national interest to ensure that every child — no matter who they are, no matter what they look like, no matter where they come from — has the opportunity to succeed. New research finds that just 34% of K-12 students in public schools attend schools where Internet speeds are 100 Mbps or more. One in five (20%) students attends schools with Internet speeds of only 10 Mbps or less.

  • Normally on Fridays, Kevin Taglang wraps up the top news of the week. But Kevin’s away so we thought we’d give you the you the big news straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. On Monday, President Barack Obama laid out his plan to ensure a free and open Internet through the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality. As Sen Ed Markey tweeted, “When the leader of the free world says the #Internet should remain free, that’s a game changer.”

  • A look at 2014 election results and what they mean for communications policy.

  • If the FCC reclassifies broadband it will be an important test of whether a law that is more than 20 years old has within it the flexibility to address changed technology that has become central to commerce, speech and everyday life.

  • We’re less than two weeks from Election Day 2014 and deciding which party will control Congress for the next two years. Nate Silver gives Republicans a 66% chance of winning a majority of seats in the Senate which would give the party control of both Houses. What would that mean for telecommunications and technology policy?

  • Putting aside all the sky-is-falling caterwauling, here is what the FCC needs to do now: Treat broadband as the telecommunications it so obviously is under Title II, and reassert that there is still a place in government responsible for protecting consumers, innovators, and citizens generally from what will otherwise surely be unbridled industry gate-keeper control over the communications ecosystem upon which our nation’s future rides.

  • On October 16, the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report, Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet, which finds that over the last five years, the total number of Americans 16 and older that accessed the Internet on any device grew by 18 percent from 151 million in 2007 to 187 million in 2012 after adjusting for population growth. Broadband adoption at home increased to 72 percent of households in 2012 from 69 percent in 2011. Despite the progress in home broadband adoption, the report also identifies persistent gaps in home Internet use. In 2012, a significant portion -- 28 percent -- of American households did not use broadband at home. A lack of interest or need (48 percent) and affordability (29 percent) are the top two reasons for non-adoption.

  • Three years ago, Blair Levin, a former Federal Communications Commission Chief of Staff and Executive Director of the National Broadband Plan, organized Gig.U, a coalition of three dozen research university communities working to accelerating the deployment of next generation networks to serve their communities. Over two-dozen communities have, or are now in the process of, deploying such networks. This week the Brookings Institute named Blair a non-resident Fellow in its Metropolitan Policy Program, causing FCC Chairman Wheeler to note, “No one's done more to advance broadband expansion and competition thru the vision of National Broadband Plan & Gig.U.” In light of Blair’s background, we asked him to reflect on the report released today by the Pew Research Center on “Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age.”

  • On September 23 Comcast and Time Warner Cable submitted to the Federal Communications Commission what’s called “Applicants’ Opposition to Petitions to Deny and Respond to Comments” – basically, the companies’ answers to filings arguing against Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Back in April, we looked at the companies’ claims that the deal is in the public interest and, more recently, we published a series on what public interest advocates, competitors, and politicians are saying about the transaction. Today we look at how Comcast and Time Warner Cable replied to opposition – focusing just on how they argue the deal could impact broadband services in the U.S.