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BroadbandCensus.com Applies for Knight News Challenge Grant to Enhance Data, Build Out Wiki and Offer Video

WASHINGTON, November 1 – BroadbandCensus.com applied on Saturday for a News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The application, which can be viewed online at the newschallenge.org web site, lays out a plan of action for the future work of this web site.

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WASHINGTON, November 1 – BroadbandCensus.com applied on Saturday for a News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The application, which can be viewed online at the newschallenge.org web site, lays out a plan of action for the future work of this web site.

Here’s the text of the application:

Project Title:

BroadbandCensus.com is Crowdsourcing Internet Access Community-by-Community: It’s the Building Block

Requested amount from Knight News Challenge:

$900,000

Expected amount of time to complete project:

1 [year]

Total cost of project including all sources of funding:

$1,100,000

Describe your project:

You are probably reading this on a computing device. You probably have either a wired or a wireless internet connection. You probably have broadband access. What else do you know about your broadband connection? How well does your connection work? Is your carrier limiting your bandwidth? Do your neighbors have the broadband speeds and services that they need to connect to you?

BroadbandCensus.com wants you to know everything about your broadband options. We want communities to know. The internet is international, but all broadband is local. BroadbandCensus.com understands this. We are building the knowledge base about broadband – through data, news and now through video. Just as the market for real estate relies upon public land records, the market for local broadband needs the public records of the Broadband Census.

BroadbandCensus.com allows you to find out about and monitor your local carrier, to see how your neighbors rate your carrier, and take a speed test and offer comments. We’re using crowdsourcing on the internet to share and compare knowledge about the internet. This free data about actual speed results becomes the foundation for our news and reporting about broadband issues. BroadbandCensus.com is currently rolling out a wiki with entries for every state, county, city and broadband carrier. Our reporters are writing about broadband deployments on a state and city level. We’re building communities of individuals who see the need to map out local and state broadband facilities. We’re finding the stories and crunching the data the show communities whether they have universal broadband. Working with other strategic partners in non-profit, educational and local communities, we plan to showcase and share videos helping communities pursue their digital destinies.

How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered to geographic communities?

The internet is the knowledge-pipe of today. Given the vital role that fiber, copper and wireless play in our day-to-day lives, the means of transmission must be opened up and inspected. BroadbandCensus.com does this, improving the operation of the internet marketplace one person and one community at a time.

Local communities are involved in all three of our projects: our data-gathering component, our news-stream/broadband wiki, and the video showcase we plan to release. BroadbandCensus.com displays data and news nation-wide, but our site incorporates Broadband Census Indiana and others, offering state-wide and city-wide views of the broadband marketplace. We’re also building a community through our Broadband Census for America conferences.

How is your idea innovative? (new or different from what already exists)

Commercial broadband providers know where they offer service, and where they don’t. BroadbandCensus.com wants to equalize knowledge. We provide internet end-users with data, information and video resources about the providers. As communities consider their internet options, they want the most complete information about broadband – and they want to learn and share knowledge from other communities that have offered citizens internet access. BroadbandCensus.com is the platform to freely and openly share news and data about broadband communities and about carriers. Particularly as Bells and cable operators begin to meter out bitstreams, citizen-users of their network will use BroadbandCensus.com as the neutral third party to monitor carriers.

What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project?

Drew Clark is one of the toughest and most comprehensive telecom, media and technology journalists in the United States. He is widely respected for his fairness and insight in covering Washington-based internet issues. As the Editor and Executive Director of BroadbandCensus.com, which he created in December 2007 to provide the public with an objective measure of where broadband is available and which carriers offer it, Clark sees the company as an ally and partner of local communities, cities, counties and states on the all-important issue of building good internet access block-by-block.

Prior to launching BroadbandCensus.com, Clark led the “Well Connected” Project at the Center for Public Integrity. As Senior Fellow and Project Manager there, he directed all aspects of this investigative journalism venture monitoring the political influence of the communications industries. He was responsible for the five million-record Media Tracker database, the most comprehensive collection of information about media ownership. Seeing broadband as the next key battleground, he initiated the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for local internet data at the Federal Communications Commission.

From 1998 to 2006, Clark was Senior Writer at the National Journal Group, where he was editor, writer, columnist, commentator, moderator and host of technology coverage, leading comprehensive reporting of telecommunications, privacy, antitrust, free speech and intellectual property. Clark brings the journalistic expertise, the management capacity, and the passion to stand up to incumbent interests.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney at The CommLaw Group. He has closely tracked the trends in and mechanics of digital infrastructure for 20 years, and has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers navigate coverage, identify markets, broker infrastructure, and operate in the public right of way. The articles and posts on Broadband Breakfast and affiliated social media, including the BroadbandCensus Twitter feed, are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

FCC

FCC Delays Auction of Citizens Broadband Radio Service Frequences in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic from Coronavirus

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Agency Changes Upcoming Auction 105 Schedule, Postpones Auction 106

Adjustments Made in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today announced schedule changes for Auction 105 as well as the postponement of Auction 106.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes were deemed necessary in order to protect the health and safety of Commission staff and to allow parties additional time to prepare to
participate in Auctions 105 and 106.

“Many Americans have had to make tough decisions on how they do business in this rapidly changing environment, and the FCC is no different,” said agency Chairman Ajit Pai. “After consulting agency staff within the relevant Bureaus and Offices, we determined that it was in everyone’s best interest to make these changes. But we remain committed to holding the 3.5 GHz auction this summer and look forward to beginning this important mid-band auction in July.”

For Auction 105, involving the auction of Priority Access Licenses for the 3550-3650 MHz band, the short-form application (FCC Form 175) filing window will now open on April 23,
2020 at 12 p.m. EDT and will close on May 7 at 6 p.m. EDT. Upfront payments will be due June 19.

Bidding will begin on July 23. Interested parties should continue to monitor the Auction 105 website at www.fcc.gov/auction/105 for any future announcements regarding the auction schedule and other important auction information. To read the Auction 105 Public Notice, visit https://go.usa.gov/xdhf4.

The FCC is postponing indefinitely Auction 106, an auction of construction permits in the FM broadcast service that was scheduled to begin on April 28. Auction 106 applicants that
submitted upfront payments may obtain a refund of those deposits after submitting a written request. Additional processes are outlined in today’s Public Notice. A revised schedule will
be announced in a future public notice. To read the Auction 106 Public Notice, visit https://go.usa.gov/xdhfZ.

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Press Releases

Tech Freedom and Other Advocacy Groups Push Back Against Growing Pressure to Modify Section 230

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WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 – Pushing back against a growing group of critics on the right and the left, the pro-free-market pro-free-speech group Tech Freedom on Thursday released a set of seven principles and online resources designed to “guide conversation about amending Section 230.”

As the principles statement declares: “we value the balance between freely exchanging ideas, fostering innovation, and limiting harmful speech. Because this is an exceptionally delicate balance, Section 230 reform poses a substantial risk of failing to address policymakers’ concerns and harming the Internet overall.”

In its current form, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (and part of the 1996 Telecom Act) holds online content creators responsible for what they publish, while protecting third parties that generate this content from liability.

“Section 230 is the law that made today’s Internet possible. Without it, hosting user-generated content would be impossible. Today’s most popular social websites would never have taken off and the Internet would look basically like cable,” said Tech Freedom President Berin Szóka.

“Making Section 230 protections contingent upon approval of government bureaucrats would be a grave mistake. Regulation must evolve as the Internet evolves, but creating new government powers that would be subject to the whims of whichever party occupied the White House would be bad for all Americans,” said Kevin Glass, vice president of communications at National Taxpayers Union.

The statement also included expressions of support from Prof. Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law, Sharon Bradford Franklin, director of Surveillance & Cybersecurity Policy, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Emma Llanso, director of the Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy & Technology, Bartlett Cleland, president of the Innovation Economy Alliance, and others.

Some of Tech Freedom’s resources on free speech and Section 230 on its website, including:

  • An op-ed “Some conservatives need a First Amendment refresher”
  • A letter to AG Session “DOJ Inquiry re Tech Companies Bias is Misguided”
  • A blogpost “Reality Check for Trump and Republicans Crying ‘Bias’”!
  • Tech Freedom President Berin Szóka’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the filtering practices of social media platforms
  • A statement on the passage of SESTA
  • A statement on the takedown of Backpage and its implications for Section 230 and recent sex trafficking legislation
  • Tech Policy Podcast #226: The Fairness Doctrine: Next Generation
  • Tech Policy Podcast #214: Information Intermediaries in a Nutshell

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FCC

Federal Communications Commission Announces $169 Million in Rural Broadband Funding

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WASHINGTON, June 10, 2019 – The Federal Communications Commission on Monday authorized $166.8 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 60,850 unserved rural homes and businesses in 22 states. Providers will begin receiving funding this month. A map of the winning bids is available here.

This funding represents the second wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. The FCC authorized the first wave of funding in May, providing $111.6 million in funding over the next decade to expand service to 37,148 unserved homes and businesses in 12 states.

To date, the first two rounds of authorizations are providing $278.4 million over the next decade to expand service to 97,998 new locations.  Over the coming months, the FCC will be authorizing additional funding as it approves the final applications of the winning bidders from the auction.

“I’m pleased to announce that the second round of funding starts now for buildout of high-speed Internet service to 60,850 rural homes and businesses, which will bring them to the right side of the digital divide and give them access to the 21st-century opportunities that broadband offers,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“Providers will be deploying gigabit-speed connections to the majority of locations for which funding is being authorized today, while nearly 8,000 homes and small businesses on Tribal lands will be getting fixed broadband service for the first time,” he said.

Providers must build out to 40 percent of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years.  Buildout must increase by 20 percent in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

The Connect America Fund Phase II auction is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America.

In addition to the funding that will be made available through this auction, the Commission recently provided 186 companies in 43 states $65.7 million in additional annual funding to upgrade broadband speeds in rural communities, and offered incentives for over 500 rural carriers to provide faster broadband to over 1 million rural homes and businesses.

Pai also announced his intention to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will provide $20.4 billion over the next decade to connect approximately four million rural homes and businesses to high-speed broadband, representing the FCC’s single biggest step yet to close the digital divide.

(Photo by Jim Bradley used with permission.)

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