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Broadband Communities Highlights Impact of Internet on Economic Development with Kentucky Conference

Editor’s Note: This week marks the fourth annual Economic Development Conference hosted by Broadband Communities Magazine. The roving conferences have moved from Southern Virginia to Chicagoland; from Western Massachusetts to — this week — Lexington, Kentucky. BroadbandBreakfast.com will be there, reporting on and analyzing the most significant developments to emerge from the event. The event will also be Broadband Communities’ first event since the passing of CEO Scott DeGarmo last month.

Below is the Chairman’s Statement about the event. The agenda is available here; registration is available here

Across America, hundreds of communities are seeking to acquire or develop advanced communications networks. Such networks, they believe, can drive and support simultaneous progress in multiple fields that are of critical importance to them, including economic development and global competitiveness, education, health care, public safety, transportation, energy, environmental protection, democratic engagement, and much more. In virtually every case, fostering robust economic development has ranked at or near the top of the list of considerations motivating these communities.

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Editor’s Note: This week marks the fourth annual Economic Development Conference hosted by Broadband Communities Magazine. The roving conferences have moved from Southern Virginia to Chicagoland; from Western Massachusetts to — this week — Lexington, Kentucky. BroadbandBreakfast.com will be there, reporting on and analyzing the most significant developments to emerge from the event. The event will also be Broadband Communities’ first event since the passing of CEO Scott DeGarmo last month.

Below is the Chairman’s Statement about the event. The agenda is available here; registration is available here

Across America, hundreds of communities are seeking to acquire or develop advanced communications networks. Such networks, they believe, can drive and support simultaneous progress in multiple fields that are of critical importance to them, including economic development and global competitiveness, education, health care, public safety, transportation, energy, environmental protection, democratic engagement, and much more. In virtually every case, fostering robust economic development has ranked at or near the top of the list of considerations motivating these communities.

Our regional conferences are in response to strong and widespread interest
Responding to the strong and widespread interest in the relationship between advanced communications networks, economic development, and job creation, Broadband Communities has hosted a series of regional conferences that examine these matters from all angles, drawing on the insights of experts across multiple disciplines and on the first-hand experiences of the communities within the region in question.

The Lexington event encompasses the 12-state East-Central Region
Following up on our highly successful conferences in Danville, Virginia, Chicago, Illinois, and Springfield, Massachusetts, we will hold our next conference in Lexington Kentucky, from September 15-17, 2015. The conference will focus on the 12-state East-Central Region, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. This region is extraordinarily rich in experience, talent, and representative projects.

You’ll get useful info and insights you can put to use at once
Our entire economic development program – every session, every speaker – will concentrate on the relationship between broadband, economic development, and job creation. We will provide you useful, practical information that you can take home and put to use at once – including economic research, case histories, how-to materials, examples of what’s working and what’s not, lessons-learned, and invaluable insights.

From Google Fiber to public-private partnerships, we’ll address the timeliest and most important topics
Our workshops and sessions will address the latest, hottest topics – including Google Fiber and other public and private fiber deployments, telemedicine, distance learning, getting seniors online, and much more. You’ll learn about many of the state, regional, and local projects in the region. You’ll also hear about ways that communities are improving their chances of getting a gigabit network, including working with private-sector network providers, entering into public-private partnerships, and collaborating with vendors.

You’ll also hear about a variety of successful efforts to fund broadband – including investments in education, healthcare institutions and community anchors in underserved areas.

-Economic Development Chairman Jim Baller

Broadband Breakfast is a decade-old news organization based in Washington that is building a community of interest around broadband policy and internet technology, with a particular focus on better broadband infrastructure, the politics of privacy and the regulation of social media. Learn more about Broadband Breakfast.

FCC

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

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Seal of the Federal Communications Commission

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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