benton's blog

American Hate Radio: How A Powerful Outlet For Democratic Discourse Has Deteriorated Into Hate, Racism and Extremism

For over a century we have used the radio waves to communicate with our neighbors. Even today radio remains the primary way that Americans consume media, reaching 93% of the American population on a weekly basis. Radio can be an excellent outlet for news, democratic discourse, community engagement and even life-saving emergency information, and, in many instances, it is just that.

FCC Must Reach Out On Upcoming Changes to Lifeline Telecom Program

By the end of this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to issue new rules aimed at reforming and modernizing the low-income Lifeline telephone program. The rules are expected to include many changes to the application process. It will also update the annual check-in which determines continued eligibility for the program.

Whether the FCC succeeds in this effort will depend on whether the reform order includes an extensive education and outreach component to explain the changes. Planning must start now.

FCC’s Low-Income Phone Reform Needs to Connect and Tie Eligibility to People, Not Housing

The Federal Communications Commission is poised to reform and modernize the Lifeline phone program that was created to help low-income household afford phone service. The reform and modernization is expected to move the program beyond traditional landline service to better accommodate wireless phone service and to set a foundation to move to broadband access for poor people. Yet, the reform could also discriminate against the very people the program was designed to help.

PEG Access Centers Closing at Alarming Rate

By Cecilia Garcia

Benton and our friends at the Alliance for Communications Democracy (ACD) wanted to get a feel for the state of public, educational and government (PEG) access across the nation. We wanted to see if PEG channels are realizing the promise and optimism expressed back in 1984 by the House Commerce Committee in a report that set forth the reason why these channels are so important.

Local TV News & Joint Services Agreements

By Danilo Yanich, PhD
University of Delaware

Too Much Power in One Company’s Hands

Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps was the only FCC commissioner to dissent from the order allowing Comcast and General Electric to enter into a complicated joint venture that will give Comcast control of NBC Universal. Here is his statement.


On Day 100, A New Tool To Track The National Broadband Plan

"Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work."
-- Peter Drucker

Big Broadband Ideas

Big Ideas With the Potential to Substantially Change the Community

Broadband Benchmarks

The September 2nd Federal Communications Commission National Broadband Plan workshop featured a panel of academics, policy directors and telecom executives that came together to discuss the role of metrics and benchmarks for evaluating the various dimensions of broadband across geographic areas and across time. The Benchmarks considered included variables such as broadband deployment and adoption, affordability and prices, quality of broadband services and levels of competition.

Broadband and Job Training

On August 26, 2009, the Federal Communications Commission held a National Broadband Plan workshop focused on the potential impact of increased broadband access on job training and job placement. Topics of discussion included: Online and remote job training, Access to jobs, Adult education, The future of job searches, and Digital literacy for adults.