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

  • Oct 20 2014

    Next Century Cities, an initiative billing itself as a bipartisan effort “dedicated to ensuring the availability of next-generation broadband Internet for all communities," launched with 32 cities on board.

  • Oct 20 2014

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) believes the language of the future is code writing -- and he wants every kid in Chicago to be prepared.

  • Oct 20 2014

    Apple has begun automatically collecting the locations of users and the queries they type when searching for files with the newest Mac operating system, a function that has provoked backlash for a company that portrays itself as a leader on privacy.

  • Oct 20 2014

    Regarding Ajit Pai’s Oct. 18 op-ed, “A ‘Truthy’ study: #wasteful #Orwellian,” on the “Truthy” study of tweet trends: It is important to remember that the study is by the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research. While it is government-funded, it is not a government project.

  • Oct 20 2014

    Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate is touting the benefits of having cellphone carriers enable FM radio on smartphones. He said broadcast radio is, at times, the only way to receive emergency information during a disaster, when other services are jammed with overuse.

  • Oct 20 2014

    For all those cable haters out there, sorry: Cutting the cord won't mean cutting out your cable provider.

  • Oct 20 2014

    The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced that Jean L. Kiddoo has joined as Deputy Bureau Chief.

  • Oct 20 2014

    A series of large tech companies recently revealed disappointing gender and diversity statistics, sparking discussion over whether there’s something fundamentally wrong with hiring practices in Silicon Valley. In an extended interview with New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose, entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen tackles that criticism head on. While he thinks the discussion is valid, he has issues with particular points.

  • Oct 20 2014

    Firms from half of the nation’s 16 key industries, including wastewater and banking, have paid for special technology to join a Department of Homeland Security program that shares classified cyberthreat intelligence, in hopes of protecting society from a catastrophic cyberattack.

  • Oct 20 2014

    Chinese authorities just launched “a malicious attack on Apple” that could capture user names and passwords of anyone who logs into the iCloud from anywhere in the country, the well-respected censorship watchdog GreatFire.org reports.

Blog

  • 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.

  • There is time, FCC Chairman Wheeler, to conduct several full Commission meetings before you call the vote on net neutrality. I guarantee you that you’ll learn a lot and have a sounder basis for making the critically-important decision you and your colleagues must vote on shortly. In fact, you shouldn’t be calling a vote until you and your colleagues have had a chance to talk—really talk—to the American people.

  • Easily, network neutrality won the week in telecommunications wonkland. September 15 was the latest deadline for public comment at the Federal Communications Commission as it tries again to recraft what it calls open Internet rules which, in the simplest terms, is treating all Internet traffic equally. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing called Why Net Neutrality Matters: Protecting Consumers and Competition Through Meaningful Open Internet Rules, and the FCC help four forums on the topic. With so much activity, it is wise to take a breath and figure out where we are.

  • 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 http://corporate.comcast.com/comcast-voices/more-support-pours-in-for-comcast-time-warner-cable-transaction 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.