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Digital Inclusion

FCC’s Low-Income Broadband Working Group Report Finally Receives Unanimous Approval

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Screenshot from the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee meeting

December 18, 2020 — During the most recent meeting of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, on Thursday, volunteer members of the Increasing Broadband Investment in Low-Income Communities Working Group proposed revisions to a recommendations report, after the report failed to be voted out during the committee’s October 29 meeting.

The team’s report, which finally received a unanimous vote out on Thursday, details recommendations to increase broadband affordability, deployment, and adoption, specifically in low-income communities.

The Committee completed three case studies, to guide their report, one of which was finalized after the October 29 deadline. The resources utilized include a Chicago case study, which focused on the importance of K-12 students having access to virtual learning initiatives within low-income communities.

The group met 11 times over 14 days to draft the recommendations report after it initially failed to pass.

“We took a little bit more time in balancing the discussion of the correlation between income and deployment,” said working group Chairman Tom Ferree. “We wanted to really shape that particular piece in a way that informed policymakers and did not serve to indict or otherwise color a particular bias or perspective, to bring balance and objective reporting to that investigation.”

According to Ferree, the team similarly refined their recommendations on improving adoption; however, there was not as substantive a change in the adoptions report as in the deployment report. “We did strike one section that was previously included, a special call-out on the tax strategies associated with incentivizing deployment,” said Ferree.

According to Ferree, the team wrestled to settle on recommendations for broadband deployment and spent quite a bit of time minimizing the regulatory barriers to small cell deployment.

Some of the groups main recommendations for increasing broadband access in low-income communities, detailed in the report, include: creating gigabit opportunity zones with preference to low-income communities lacking sufficient broadband availability, establishing bidding credits for investment specifically in low-income areas, encouraging partnerships and strategic planning, focusing Community Reinvestment Act resources on broadband infrastructure projects in low-income areas, improving data, affordability, and more.

The team also referenced the success of the FCC’s Rural Tribal Priority Window. “We wanted to feature that as a way to incentivize future spectrum auctions on tribal lands,” said Ferree.

Former Assistant Editor Jericho Casper graduated from the University of Virginia studying media policy. She grew up in Newport News in an area heavily impacted by the digital divide. She has a passion for universal access and a vendetta against anyone who stands in the way of her getting better broadband. She is now Associate Broadband Researcher at the Institute for Local Self Reliance's Community Broadband Network Initiative.

Digital Inclusion

Black Churches 4 Broadband Brings Religious Fervor to Better Internet Access

Black churches are more than spiritual gathering places: They are power centers within the Black community.

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Photo of the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

December 18, 2020 — During the most recent meeting of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, on Thursday, volunteer members of the Increasing Broadband Investment in Low-Income Communities Working Group proposed revisions to a recommendations report, after the report failed to be voted out during the committee’s October 29 meeting.

The team’s report, which finally received a unanimous vote out on Thursday, details recommendations to increase broadband affordability, deployment, and adoption, specifically in low-income communities.

The Committee completed three case studies, to guide their report, one of which was finalized after the October 29 deadline. The resources utilized include a Chicago case study, which focused on the importance of K-12 students having access to virtual learning initiatives within low-income communities.

The group met 11 times over 14 days to draft the recommendations report after it initially failed to pass.

“We took a little bit more time in balancing the discussion of the correlation between income and deployment,” said working group Chairman Tom Ferree. “We wanted to really shape that particular piece in a way that informed policymakers and did not serve to indict or otherwise color a particular bias or perspective, to bring balance and objective reporting to that investigation.”

According to Ferree, the team similarly refined their recommendations on improving adoption; however, there was not as substantive a change in the adoptions report as in the deployment report. “We did strike one section that was previously included, a special call-out on the tax strategies associated with incentivizing deployment,” said Ferree.

According to Ferree, the team wrestled to settle on recommendations for broadband deployment and spent quite a bit of time minimizing the regulatory barriers to small cell deployment.

Some of the groups main recommendations for increasing broadband access in low-income communities, detailed in the report, include: creating gigabit opportunity zones with preference to low-income communities lacking sufficient broadband availability, establishing bidding credits for investment specifically in low-income areas, encouraging partnerships and strategic planning, focusing Community Reinvestment Act resources on broadband infrastructure projects in low-income areas, improving data, affordability, and more.

The team also referenced the success of the FCC’s Rural Tribal Priority Window. “We wanted to feature that as a way to incentivize future spectrum auctions on tribal lands,” said Ferree.

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Digital Inclusion

Senators Reintroduce Bipartisan Digital Equity Act

Sen. Murray re-introduces bi-partisan that would provide grants to states pushing for digital equity.

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Patty Murray, D-Washington

December 18, 2020 — During the most recent meeting of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, on Thursday, volunteer members of the Increasing Broadband Investment in Low-Income Communities Working Group proposed revisions to a recommendations report, after the report failed to be voted out during the committee’s October 29 meeting.

The team’s report, which finally received a unanimous vote out on Thursday, details recommendations to increase broadband affordability, deployment, and adoption, specifically in low-income communities.

The Committee completed three case studies, to guide their report, one of which was finalized after the October 29 deadline. The resources utilized include a Chicago case study, which focused on the importance of K-12 students having access to virtual learning initiatives within low-income communities.

The group met 11 times over 14 days to draft the recommendations report after it initially failed to pass.

“We took a little bit more time in balancing the discussion of the correlation between income and deployment,” said working group Chairman Tom Ferree. “We wanted to really shape that particular piece in a way that informed policymakers and did not serve to indict or otherwise color a particular bias or perspective, to bring balance and objective reporting to that investigation.”

According to Ferree, the team similarly refined their recommendations on improving adoption; however, there was not as substantive a change in the adoptions report as in the deployment report. “We did strike one section that was previously included, a special call-out on the tax strategies associated with incentivizing deployment,” said Ferree.

According to Ferree, the team wrestled to settle on recommendations for broadband deployment and spent quite a bit of time minimizing the regulatory barriers to small cell deployment.

Some of the groups main recommendations for increasing broadband access in low-income communities, detailed in the report, include: creating gigabit opportunity zones with preference to low-income communities lacking sufficient broadband availability, establishing bidding credits for investment specifically in low-income areas, encouraging partnerships and strategic planning, focusing Community Reinvestment Act resources on broadband infrastructure projects in low-income areas, improving data, affordability, and more.

The team also referenced the success of the FCC’s Rural Tribal Priority Window. “We wanted to feature that as a way to incentivize future spectrum auctions on tribal lands,” said Ferree.

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Digital Inclusion

Report Highlights Importance Of Satellite Technologies, Secure Data and Communications

The report on new technologies and data lays out importance of data security and satellite communications.

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Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington

December 18, 2020 — During the most recent meeting of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, on Thursday, volunteer members of the Increasing Broadband Investment in Low-Income Communities Working Group proposed revisions to a recommendations report, after the report failed to be voted out during the committee’s October 29 meeting.

The team’s report, which finally received a unanimous vote out on Thursday, details recommendations to increase broadband affordability, deployment, and adoption, specifically in low-income communities.

The Committee completed three case studies, to guide their report, one of which was finalized after the October 29 deadline. The resources utilized include a Chicago case study, which focused on the importance of K-12 students having access to virtual learning initiatives within low-income communities.

The group met 11 times over 14 days to draft the recommendations report after it initially failed to pass.

“We took a little bit more time in balancing the discussion of the correlation between income and deployment,” said working group Chairman Tom Ferree. “We wanted to really shape that particular piece in a way that informed policymakers and did not serve to indict or otherwise color a particular bias or perspective, to bring balance and objective reporting to that investigation.”

According to Ferree, the team similarly refined their recommendations on improving adoption; however, there was not as substantive a change in the adoptions report as in the deployment report. “We did strike one section that was previously included, a special call-out on the tax strategies associated with incentivizing deployment,” said Ferree.

According to Ferree, the team wrestled to settle on recommendations for broadband deployment and spent quite a bit of time minimizing the regulatory barriers to small cell deployment.

Some of the groups main recommendations for increasing broadband access in low-income communities, detailed in the report, include: creating gigabit opportunity zones with preference to low-income communities lacking sufficient broadband availability, establishing bidding credits for investment specifically in low-income areas, encouraging partnerships and strategic planning, focusing Community Reinvestment Act resources on broadband infrastructure projects in low-income areas, improving data, affordability, and more.

The team also referenced the success of the FCC’s Rural Tribal Priority Window. “We wanted to feature that as a way to incentivize future spectrum auctions on tribal lands,” said Ferree.

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