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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  • Sep 18 2014

    September 15 concluded the second round of comments for the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Proceeding. During the last four months, the FCC has received a large number of comments from a wide range of constituents via three methods.

  • Sep 18 2014

    John Oliver may have gotten heaps of attention for his 13-minute early-June jeremiad on network neutrality that called viewers to contact the Federal Communications Commission to urge it to protect the Internet. But new data from the FCC reveals that Oliver's call-to-arms pales in comparison to that other great force in American life: dilly-dallying.

  • Sep 18 2014

    Editors and reporters meeting in Chicago raised concerns about what they described as a lack of access and transparency undermining journalists' work, several blaming the current White House for setting standards for secrecy that are spreading nationwide.

  • Sep 18 2014

    In the age of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner's in New York, when police abuses can be easily documented by citizens wielding smartphones, relationships between police departments and the communities they serve can quickly become strained.

  • Sep 18 2014

    Comcast's David Cohen said that the company will be extending its Internet Essentials promotion through Sept. 30.

  • Sep 18 2014

    Internet retailers are facing new rules from the Federal Trade Commission requiring them to ship customers' orders on time and promptly offer refunds for some items that are late. The FTC said that online sellers will be required to ship merchandise within 30 days of purchase, or else give customers the option for a refund.

  • Sep 18 2014

    Uncle Sam may start charging you for the right to access the Internet. Or you might soon find yourself paying a sales tax on purchases made at online retailers like Amazon and eBay.

  • Sep 18 2014

    Why is it so difficult for governments to establish proper legislation about security and privacy? Physical laws are created for a particular territory, like a town or country. This is an iterative process that has taken us over 300 years to establish a set of laws by which we live today. The issue of governing the multidimensional virtual world is rather complex, as it is not easy to define the territory.

  • Sep 18 2014

    Agencies of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program are planning to develop a joint National Privacy Research Strategy.

  • Sep 18 2014

    The specific objectives of this work were to (1) describe the planned exchanges of information between the website and other organizations and (2) assess the effectiveness of programs and controls implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect the security and privacy of the information and IT systems supporting


  • On September 30, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether to repeal its sports blackout rules. The outcome is a forgone conclusion - the FCC will repeal the rules.

  • Although network neutrality -- or Freedom Against Internet Restrictions, if you prefer -- grabbed many of the headlines this week, we’d like to highlight a September 4 speech by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler entitled “The Facts and Future of Broadband Competition.” To cut to the chase, Chairman Wheeler outlined an Agenda for Broadband Competition that establishes principles for all of the FCC’s broadband activities.

  • One of the most controversial issues the Federal Communications Commission will face this fall is whether it can and should preempt (i.e., invalidate) state laws that restrict their municipalities from constructing and operating their own broadband networks. This post does not address the wisdom of these projects, but rather whether the FCC has the legal authority to preempt those state laws.

  • With both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission reviewing Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, many elected officials are weighing in on the potential benefits and pitfalls of the deal. Comcast has noted that nearly 70 mayors and more than 60 additional state and local officials have gone on record as proponents of the proposed merger.

  • As noted last week, the first round of public comment on Comcast’s proposal to buy Time Warner Cable was due August 25. The $45 billion transaction, announced in February, would combine the nation's top two cable TV companies. Comcast and Time Warner argue that the combination will create a world-class communications, media, and technology company significantly better positioned than either company alone to bring consumers the advanced services they want now and will need in the future and to keep America at the forefront of technology and innovation. The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the transaction to determine if it is in the public interest. Here’s a look at what Comcast's and Time Warner's competitors are saying.

  • August 25, 2014, Comcast’s David Cohen helpfully reminded us, was the due date for the first round of comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s review of Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Here's the first in a series examining what's being said.

  • On August 7, the FCC released an order asking the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service to provide recommendations on how the FCC should modify the universal service contribution methodology. The Joint Board, for those scoring at home, was created by provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and first established in March 1996 to make recommendations to implement the universal service provisions of the 1996 Act. The Joint Board is comprised of FCC Commissioners, State Utility Commissioners, and a consumer advocate representative.

  • More than a million citizens have contacted the Federal Communications Commission demanding genuine network neutrality. We know a healthy democracy demands an Open Internet. Last week the President of the United States also weighed in against a fast-lane/slow-lane Internet. Two conclusions stand out: (1) no new arguments have been ginned up by the big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T that lend a whit of credibility to their entrenched opposition to strong net neutrality rules; and (2) growing grassroots support for a truly open Internet is commanding attention at the highest levels of government.

  • August in Washington (DC) is hot and muggy. Especially in an election year, denizens abandon the city and policy news generally grinds to a halt. But when the future of the Internet is at stake, there’s no break in the news.

  • Although the Federal Communications Commission adopted many changes to the E-rate program on July 11, 2014, the FCC also launched a new proceeding – a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – seeking public comment on additional issues. Specifically, the FCC seeks input on the future funding needs of the E-rate program; discrete issues that may further simplify the administration of the E-rate program; promoting cost-effective purchasing through multi-year contracts and consortium purchasing; and how best to calculate the amount of funding eligible libraries need in order to purchase Wi-Fi networks and other internal connections.