Better Broadband Better Lives

Author

Emily McPhie

Emily McPhie has 50 articles published.

Is or Isn’t Google Politically Neutral? Senators From the Left and the Right Ponder the Question

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2019 — With great power comes great responsibility. And now Google, which insists that it is not slanting search results based upon political leanings, is under attack from both the left and the right. At a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing last Tuesday – titled “Google and Censorship through Search Engines” – Sen.… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Maps Still Inaccurate, YouTube Privacy Breach, and Commerce Department Dysfunction

On Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the agency to utilize public input to fix broadband coverage maps. “The FCC’s maps are still woefully inaccurate, and they are hurting the economy and the people of West Virginia,” said Manchin, adding that the lack of broadband… Keep Reading

Panelists, Including Facebook Executive, Call For Increased Content Moderation

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2019 — The primary responsibility of moderating online platforms lies with the platforms themselves, making Section 230 protections essential, said panelists at New America’s Open Technology Institute on Thursday. Although some policymakers are attempting to solve the problem of digital content moderation, Open Technology Institute Director Sarah Morris noted that the First… Keep Reading

Infrastructure/Privacy

Broadband Roundup: Venture Fund Investments, Prime Day Privacy, and Cable Growth

The Consumer Technology Association announced on Tuesday that it will invest in Harlem Capital Partners and SoGal Ventures as part of its $10 million commitment to venture firms and funds that invest in women, people of color, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. Harlem Capital Partners is a minority-owned early-stage venture capital firm aiming to change the… Keep Reading

Pilot Program Will Target Child Mental Health and Maternal Mortality Rates, FCC Says

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2019 — Among the items passed unanimously at the Federal Communications Commission July 10 meeting was the creation of a three-year, $100 million pilot program to support the delivery of telehealth services to rural and low-income Americans. “From chronic disease management to pediatric cardiology, from PTSD to opioid dependency, this pilot has… Keep Reading

Democratic and Republican Representatives Agree on Need For Federal Privacy Law and Strengthening FTC

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2019 — The “honeymoon phase” of tech is definitely over. As a result, federal privacy legislation is essential. So said two prominent members of Congress – one Democrat and one Republican – at a Wednesday event hosted by Charter Communications and the Future of Privacy Forum on Wednesday. Indeed, Congress should quickly… Keep Reading

On Spectrum Policy, Congress May Step Between the FCC and Commerce Department’s NTIA

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2019 — Differences between the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration have gotten to the point that Congress may need to get more involved in the spectrum allocation process, legislators said Tuesday at a House subcommittee hearing. Coordination between federal agencies is an essential component of… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: FCC Spends $524 Million for Rural Area as House Subcommittee Highlights Problem, New Public Knowledge CEO

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced more than $524 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband access to 205,520 unserved rural homes and businesses in 23 states. Providers will begin receiving funding this month. “High-speed Internet provides access to opportunity in the 21st century, and the FCC’s top priority is closing… Keep Reading

Congress/FCC/FTC/Media/Privacy

Harold Feld Argues That Increased Regulation Will Be More Successful than Breaking Up Big Tech

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2019 — Rather than seeking to break up big technology giants, Congress should instead focus on ratcheting up regulation of the online platform players to curb their greatest abuses, public interest advocate Harold Feld argued on Monday. Feld, the author of the recent e-book, “The Case for the Digital Platform Act: Market… Keep Reading

FCC Blasted Over Party-Line Decision to Take Education Out of Educational Broadband Spectrum

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 — Ignoring recommendations from the Department of Education, several members of Congress, and various broadband advocates, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday to hold commercial auctions for unused portions of the 2.5 Gigahertz spectrum band. The decision removes the educational use requirement for the band and fails to provide… Keep Reading

House Commerce Committee Leaders Question Amazon CEO Bezos Over Potentially Fraudulent Reviews

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 — Amazon may be profiting from the sale of products promoted by increasing numbers of fake ratings and reviews, raising concerns among lawmakers. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Tuesday… Keep Reading

Big Tech and FTC Under Attack at Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 — YouTube has been “inadequate and abysmally slow in responding” to recent allegations that its algorithms promote child sexualization, said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. If big tech companies don’t take sufficient steps to protect children from exploitation on their platforms, they should be… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Rural Facilities Still Not Using Telehealth, Court Decision on Amazon Liability, and Michigan Grant Program

Nearly a quarter of rural Americans have used some form of telehealth service within the past few years, according to a recent NPR report conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. The most frequently used telehealth services include receiving diagnoses and treatments from health care… Keep Reading

For 5G, Panelists Favor Limiting Local Control over Rights-of-Way and Not Reinstating Net Neutrality Rules

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2019 — The successful growth of 5G networks will be best achieved through limiting municipalities’ control over wireless infrastructure and not reinstating rules that would require network neutrality, according to a Monday panel of the Digital Policy Institute, an organization affiliated with Ball State University. Although the government plays an important role,… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: World Broadband Speeds Released, Broadband Competition Questions, Social Media Algorithms

Taiwan has the world’s fastest broadband, while the United States comes in at 15th place, according to the annual Worldwide Broadband Speed League report released by Cable.co.uk on Tuesday. The report analyzes more than 276 million broadband speed tests collected by M-Lab, an open source project involving civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private sector… Keep Reading

Techies Tout Plan to Share the C-Band and Bring High-Speed Wireless Access to Millions

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2019 — About 80 million Americans in unserved or underserved locations could receive gigabit broadband access through spectrum sharing without harming existing operations, according to research conducted by Jeffrey Reed, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Reed presented a summary of the study results at a press event on… Keep Reading

Transparency About Data Collection is a Needed First Step of Privacy Regulation, Panelist Say at FTC Event

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2019 — Forcing websites and online platforms to be more transparent about the ways in which they collect and utilize consumer data is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough, said speakers at a Federal Trade Commission conference on Thursday. Panelists at the fourth annual PrivacyCon discussed emerging issues… Keep Reading

Social Media/White House

Twitter Will Flag and Display Abusive and Controversial Tweets by Public Officials, Including Trump

WASHINGTON , June 27, 2019 — Twitter’s trust and safety team on Thursday announced on that the company will “flag” tweets by public officeholders and candidates for public office when they violate the site’s terms of service but will allow them to remain visible on the platform because they contribute to “public conversation.” The move appeared… Keep Reading

5G/Congress/NTIA

Broadband Roundup: Facebook Ires Democrats, 5G Networks, and Charles Cooper at NTIA Spectrum Office

A coalition of 27 members of Congress sent a letter to Facebook on Wednesday regarding the doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that was posted on the social media platform last month. “The spread of political disinformation on social media poses grave consequences to our nation’s democracy,” the members wrote. “Removing fake accounts… Keep Reading

Senate Hearing Created a Clash With Google Over the Definition of ‘Persuasive’ Technology

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2019 — A Tuesday Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing, on “Optimizing for Engagement: Understanding the Use of Persuasive Technology on Internet Platforms,” became an open invitation for senators to attack the business model of the technology industry. At the hearing, Google confronted bipartisan skepticism about its claimed neutrality, and about its power as… Keep Reading

House Subcommittee Approves Bill Banning Robocalls, Advancing Popular Measure to Full Committee

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2019 — Following the Federal Communications Commission’s recent order against robocalls, for added measure the House Energy & Commerce Committee Communications Subcommittee voted on Tuesday to approve a legislative measure against robocalls. The bill, known as the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” will require the FCC to revise rules under the Telephone Consumer… Keep Reading

Privacy/Senate/Social Media

Bipartisan Group of Senators Stoke Fears About Google’s Neutrality and Influence in 2020 Election

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2019 — Fears about Google’s potential ability to influence the upcoming 2020 election ran rampant at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. That, coupled with allegations that the search engine giant inappropriately benefits from federal protections against liability, created a pressure cooker environment for Google’s witness before the Commerce Communications, Technology, Innovation and the… Keep Reading

On Educational Broadband, Critics Say FCC’s ‘Unfathomable’ Proposal Will Widen Digital Divide

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2019 — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposed order to permit auction of portions of the 2.5 Gigahertz (GHz) spectrum band has drawn criticism from many outside the agency, including several members of Congress and even the U.S. Department of Education in the Trump administration. The draft order would eliminate the… Keep Reading

NTIA Webinar Focuses on Smart Region Initiatives Gaining Traction in Washington, and Nation-wide

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2019 – Smart cities and smart regions need better broadband, but also “soft infrastructure,” or the policies and practices that make these initiatives successful, according to a Wednesday panel hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's BroadbandUSA program. The session by the Commerce Department’s NTIA, “Building Smart Cities and Communities at… Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Aims to Further Deploy 2.5 GHz Band of Spectrum for 5G Wireless Networks

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2019 — The Federal Communications Commission will vote in July on whether or not to auction off unused portions of the 2.5 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum band to advance the deployment of 5G wireless networks. Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that the order would “modernize an outdated regulatory regime” and “give… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: SiFi Proposes Open-Access Network in Lowell, Ajit Pai on Broadband Farming

SiFi Networks has offered to install and maintain a new fiber optic network in Lowell, Massachusetts—at no cost to the city. This infrastructure would pave the way for new internet service providers to compete with Comcast, which is currently the main internet provider within the city. “Increasing competition is one of the best ways to… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Controversy Around 24 Gigahertz, Plus Rural Calls and Networks

The Federal Communications Commission’s recent auction of the 24 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum has been criticized by both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. One of the concerns raised by NOAA and NASA is the potential for interference with adjacent bands that collect important weather data by using microwave… Keep Reading

FCC/Privacy

Robocall Anger Will Force Calling Companies to Adjust Expectations, Says FCC Enforcement Bureau

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2019 — Companies whose legally-placed robocalls are blocked under the June 6 order of the Federal Communications Commission may need to adjust their perception of consumer expectations, a top Enforcement Bureau chief at the Federal Communications Commission said last week. Indeed, the popular backlash against robocalls is forcing all facets of the… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Congress Considers Plans to Improve Mapping, AT&T Launches 5G Phone

After wide bipartisan acknowledgement that broadband map currently being used by the Federal Communications Commission is wildly inaccurate, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has introduced the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act, urging the FCC to halt decisions on broadband funding until more accurate data is available. The bill will require the FCC to gather… Keep Reading

FCC Leaders Praise Importance of Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee In Spite of Narrowed Agenda

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2019 — Members of the Federal Communications Commission’s newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Commission touted the importance of the body at its first meeting on Thursday, even as its scope appears to have narrowed to issues around recovering from disaster communications and a few other topics. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and BDAC Chair Elizabeth… Keep Reading

Fixed Wireless Could Solve the Digital Divide, if Given the Chance

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2019 — Congress should make it easier for small wireless internet service providers to acquire spectrum and deploy broadband in rural areas, said speakers at a Wednesday panel hosted by the Wireless Internet Service Provider Association. Fixed wireless’ cost-effective deployment has made it the most rapidly growing sector of the broadband industry,… Keep Reading

Among Their Many Ills, Critics Say Google and Facebook Make It Difficult for Digital Media to Survive

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2019 — The practices of Google and Facebook were closely scrutinized at a House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing Tuesday, and the companies’ impact upon the digital news media came in for particularly stark criticism. Some said that these major tech platforms were making it difficult for other media companies to survive, speaking at… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Texas Rural Funds Collaborative and Infrastructure Zone in Indiana

Currently, 1.45 million residents of rural Texas lack high-speed internet connections, but a program launched on Wednesday by Connected Texas, a subsidiary of the national nonprofit Connected Nation, will attempt to change that. Connected Texas is taking a three-step approach over the next two years to increase rural broadband access: Making sure lawmakers have accurate… Keep Reading

Federal Communications Commission Votes to Allow Carriers to Block Robocallers By Default

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2019 — Telecommunications providers can now block robocalls by default, according to a Federal Communications Commission ruling on Thursday. In principle, the measure had bipartisan support. But Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel dissented in part because the order didn’t require phone service providers to offer call blocking for free. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s partial dissent… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Virginia Tobacco Region Awards $8 Million in Grants, and Senate Passes Broadband Research Legislation

On Thursday, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission awarded almost 8 million dollars to fourteen counties across rural Virginia for the development of broadband services, reported The News & Advance. Commission Chairman Kathy Byron highlighted the essential role increased broadband access will play in economic growth, particularly in the tourism industry. “People who visit generally bring… Keep Reading

Government Needs to Set Rules to Limit Hate Speech Online, Says New America Panel

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2019 – Further ratcheting up its call for government regulation of the technology industry, speakers at the New America's Open Technology Institute called for government rules to limit hate speech online. Doing so is necessary in order to solve the dichotomy of maintaining free speech while limiting hate speech online, said panelists… Keep Reading

Go to Top