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

  • Apr 22 2014

    The Gates Foundation released a report surveying 3,100+ teachers and 1,250+ students on what they want from digital instructional tools. The report, entitled "Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want From Digital Instructional Tools," suggests that while many teachers support technology, only 55% of teachers reported available resources sufficient in helping students meet college- and career-ready standards.

  • Apr 22 2014

    A Google lawyer testified that the company, pursuant to its contractual obligations, agreed to take over defense of some of the claims in Apple’s current patent lawsuit as well as to indemnify Samsung should it lose on those claims.

  • Apr 22 2014

    AT&T said its first quarter net income dipped 1.2 % to $3.65 billion as expenses rose but robust demand for its more expensive wireless data plans drove quarterly revenue higher.

  • Apr 22 2014

    Members of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus are asking online ad networks to do more to keep advertisements off websites that promote online piracy.

  • Apr 22 2014

    Comcast and Time Warner Cable forked over more than $5 million on lobbying in the first three months of 2014, according to recently disclosed lobbying records.

  • Apr 22 2014

    Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newt Minow and former National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief Henry Geller have urged the agency to to plug what critics allege is a loophole in existing political advertising law that allows nonprofit groups to protect the identities of donors for some political broadcast attack ads.

  • Apr 22 2014

    Amazon is taking a hit in states that are collecting an online sales tax. In one of the first efforts to quantify the impact of states accruing more tax revenue from web purchases, researchers at Ohio State University published a paper that found sales dropped for Amazon when the online charge was introduced.

  • Apr 22 2014

    Applications for federal E-rate money show broad gaps between wealthy and poor school systems' access to high-quality technologies, and varying abilities among districts to purchase connectivity at affordable rates, a new analysis reveals.

  • Apr 22 2014

    Public Knowledge has been filing briefs in Aereo's lawsuits (and in related cases like Film On) since the beginning, but the beginning was only 2012.

  • Apr 22 2014

    Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting the Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act of 2014 (HR 3635) would have no significant effect on the federal budget.

Blog

  • On April 8, 2014, Comcast announced that it and Time Warner Cable have officially filed their joint Applications and Public Interest Statement with the Federal Communications Commission. This kicks off the formal regulatory approval process for a proposal that has garnered lots of media attention. Comcast and Time Warner Cable argue that the proposed acquisition is “pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and will generate substantial public interest benefits. This week, we take a look at the companies’ claims. The FCC will approve a proposed ownership transaction if, if, after weighing “the potential public interest harms of the merger against any potential public interest benefits,” it concludes that, “on balance,” the transfer “serves the public interest, convenience and necessity.” The FCC will focus on “demonstrable and verifiable public interest benefits that could not be achieved if there were no merger.” So, does Comcast + Time Warner Cable = public interest? Here’s what the companies claim.

  • How much more do regulators need to know before they understand that the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is bad news all around? It’s bad for consumers, competition, and our very democracy.

  • On April 11, the Benton Foundation responded to the Federal Communications Commission’s request for public comment on how to preserve an Open Internet in the wake of this year’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which struck down some of the FCC’s Open Internet (or “network neutrality”) rules. Benton strongly believes that Open Internet rules are necessary for the Internet to continue to be a boon to commerce and our democracy, and they remain an important policy goal of the FCC. It is particularly important to enact strong Open Internet rules because of the disproportionate impact of an ISP’s discriminatory behavior on vulnerable populations, such as people of color, low-income populations, seniors, people with disabilities, and rural communities.

  • On March 31, 2014, Public Knowledge, along with the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute and the Benton Foundation, told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that AT&T’s plans to test its new services on consumers must include more thorough data collection plans and more robust consumer protections.

  • The newly released Pew Research Center’s report, “Older Adults and Technology Use,” shows substantial forward movement in Internet use and broadband adoption by America’s senior population. However, given the increasingly important role that this 21st century technology plays in all of our lives, it is troubling that 41 percent of seniors still do not use the Internet (compared to 14 percent of all adults), and that 53 percent do not have broadband access where they live (all adults: 30 percent). The Benton Foundation has been working with Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI) to address the challenges of bringing senior non-Internet users online. This latest Pew research reaffirms what we’re finding in our work.

  • On March 26, the Pew Research Center released State of the News Media 2014, the eleventh annual report by the Pew Research Center examining the landscape of American journalism. The study includes special reports about the revenue picture for news, the growth in digital reporting, the role of acquisitions and content sharing in local news and how digital video affects the news landscape. In addition, it provides the latest data on audience, economic, news investment and ownership trends for key sectors of news media.

  • For communities that don’t yet have access to high speed broadband, prospects that they will soon have fiber as an option are not good.

  • Turns out, in our National Broadband Plan, and in every national broadband plan around the world, there are four strategies that dominate: 1) Driving fiber deeper; 2) Using spectrum more efficiently; 3) Getting everyone online; and 4) Using the platform to improve delivery of public goods. So, on the 4th anniversary of the release of the National Broadband Plan, the right question is are we improving in executing on those 4 strategies?

  • In a few weeks (April 22, to be exact), the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in one of the most important intellectual property cases in recent years. Depending on who you believe, the case could endanger or even destroy free over-the-air broadcasting or it could imperil the development of cloud computing and threatening the very underpinnings of the emerging digital economy. Or perhaps neither, since this case, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., has been the object of heated hyperbole on all sides. Behind the dry and highly technical arguments in this case is a major controversy over whether Aereo, a small start-up with a few thousand subscribers, can capture and distribute over-the-air TV signals via the Internet.