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

  • Feb 12 2016

    It is clear that we can’t meet the challenges that arise from increased demand by using the traditional methods of spectrum reallocation. The answer is spectrum sharing, a flexible and evolving option that is helping to optimize this resource to the benefit of both the public and private sectors.

  • Feb 12 2016

    The divide is deep in our Twin Cities. That’s why an 11th-hour save by Internet provider Comcast deserves our thanks.

  • Feb 12 2016

    With the rising importance of technology in our daily lives and in the transformation of governmental operations and service delivery, the idea of “IT-led service innovation” must be abandoned.

  • Feb 12 2016

    The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on Thursday, February 18, 2016. The FCC will consider:
    A Notice of Inquiry that seeks comment on the current ...

  • Feb 12 2016

    Searches of presidential candidates conducted by Google users in New Hampshire on Feb. 9 corresponded closely with the voting results of the state’s primary.

  • Feb 12 2016

    Wireless services have opened up avenues of communication and resources unlike any in history. We rely on these connections to stay in touch with friends and family members, operate businesses and communicate on a global scale. But providing these innovative services through networks of communication towers should not come at the cost of any worker’s life.

  • Feb 12 2016

    A little known fact is that the Super Bowl represents one of the largest uses of wireless communications and spectrum every year.

  • Feb 12 2016

    Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) have introduced the MOBILE NOW (Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and ...

  • Feb 12 2016

    Google won a lawsuit against online mapping company Streetmap EU after a London court found the Internet-search engine hadn’t abused its power to crush the tiny British rival.

  • Feb 11 2016

    Cutting-edge libraries are addressing all aspects of broadband adoption: home Internet access, public Internet access, digital literacy training, and support and access to devices.

Blog

  • President Barack Obama released the final budget proposal of his presidency on February 9, a $4 trillion plan for the 2017 fiscal year, which starts October 1. Just over one-quarter of the $4 trillion budget is so-called discretionary spending for domestic and military programs that the President and Congress dicker over each year. The rest is for mandatory spending, chiefly interest on the federal debt and the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits that are expanding automatically as the population ages. So how does the budget proposal affect communications policy? Here’s a breakdown.

  • To go from desert to oasis, you need water. To go from digital desert to oasis of opportunity, we need broadband.

  • I love anniversaries. They give us a chance to review where we’ve been – and recommit to our goals. Today is one of those days. After many, many years of debate about how to best modernize U.S. telecommunications law, on February 8, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 into law at the Library of Congress. The venue was no accident: it was symbolic of the information, knowledge and learning that the Act would help extend throughout the country.

  • Robbie’s Round-Up for the week of February 1-5, 2016
    Progress was made in regards to broadband subsidies for those with low income. Highlights include a New America Event discussing the report "Opportunity for All?" and Google announcing a Google Fiber initiative to connect those with low income in public housing.
    Also this week, a new U.S.-E.U. safe harbor deal.

  • Today, most Internet service providers have implemented some form of a data cap. These caps limit the amount of access a consumer has to data before they are charged surplus fees or cut off from the network. Although there is little clarity as to why such caps are necessary, their unintended consequences could be disastrous for vulnerable populations. There are many well-documented economic and competitive concerns about data caps. Caps are not popular with consumers, nor are they an effective means of managing network congestion. In fact, when one Comcast engineer was asked why the company’s caps had been set at current levels he responded that he had “no idea,” as he was involved only in the technological aspects of the company, not “business policy.” This open admission that there is no technological necessity for data caps goes to show that ISPs’ decisions to implement caps is primarily driven by profit.

  • When Comcast tried to merge with Time Warner Cable last year, reaction was swift and negative. Not many people liked the idea of America’s largest and least loved cable company getting any bigger; the deal collapsed after hundreds of thousands of Americans spoke out and federal regulators signaled that they would not let it go forward. Big Cable should have gotten the message. But here we are just a year later with a new cable mega-merger in the works. This time, Charter Communications wants to snatch up Time Warner Cable along with Bright House Networks.

  • A year and a half ago, this blog discussed the “Sisyphean Task” imposed upon the Federal Communications Commission to engage in a never-ending review of its broadcast ownership rules. If you are wondering what has happened since then, the answer is “very little,” in large part because of the odd lassitude of a federal appeals court. This is going to change in the coming months.

  • The Jan 8 edition of the Round-up, “Broadband Research and Digital Inclusion” discussed the Federal Communications Commission’s 2016 Broadband Report, which was adopted (but not released) at the FCC's Open Meeting on Jan 28. The FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report concludes that broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.
    Presidential candidate Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX), during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, blasted the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order and the decision to regulate broadband networks under Title II of the Communications Act.
    The ongoing battle between presidential candidate Donald Trump and Fox News heated up again this week.
    Chairman Wheeler proposed Set-Top Box rules.

  • More than 50 digital rights and consumer groups, including the Benton Foundation, put pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to start drafting Internet privacy rules “as quickly as possible.” The Federal Communications Commission recently had “productive” discussions with Comcast and T-Mobile about whether their offerings of data cap exemptions conflict with the goals of network neutrality. Microsoft pledged to donate $1 billion in cloud services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years, as the company updates its philanthropic initiatives to reflect shifts in technology.

  • The Benton Foundation suffered a great loss in 2015 when, as many readers know, we lost our founder and chairman, Charles Benton, to a battle with cancer. For many people, Charles was the foundation. Gene Kimmelman of Public Knowledge said Charles “worked tirelessly to ensure that the poor, the elderly, communities of color, and other vulnerable and traditionally marginalized communities would not be excluded from the digital future.” Anyone who met Charles soon learned he cared about people and the impact that education and communications have on improving lives and making the world a better place. As all of us at the foundation dealt with our personal loss this year, we moved forward together to honor Charles’ lifetime of work. The Benton Foundation remains dedicated to closing the digital divide and supporting digital inclusion, so everyone can participate fully in a diverse media system and in our democracy. With this goal in mind, here are the areas the foundation devoted our efforts to in 2015.