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Digital Inclusion

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks Says FCC Eyes Emergency Broadband Benefit Program as a Priority Item

Derek Shumway

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Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks at a prior event

February 16, 2021 – Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program is currently a top priority for the regulatory agency.

The FCC has 60 days to determine how best to allocate the money from the program intended to reach “more disconnected low-income people and households of color than any previous FCC effort to close the digital divide,” he said at the Incompas summit on Feb. 9, alluding to its urgency.

Starks said he wants to take a different direction than what he called the poor handling by the previous FCC of the Lifeline program, which saw only 20 per cent of eligible low-income households subscribe to the program.

One way to do that where the previous FCC failed is outreach – to get the word out, he said.

Starks did thank the major internet providers who participated in the Keep America Connected pledge, which spared households from being cut off from internet service for 60 days if they couldn’t pay their bills and waived late fees during the pandemic.

Starks encouraged people to reach out to their internet providers and their constituents to increase participation in the emergency program. In Detroit, Michigan, nearly half the population lacks broadband access and 29,000 of those who do are students, which is a startling figure that demonstrates the urgent need for connectivity, he said.

Bearing the cost of developing and expanding broadband networks is a challenge to overcome. Starks compared the Lifeline program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and said if someone qualifies for SNAP, “then they should also learn about Lifeline.”

Accessing programs like these need to be as easy and possible. The FCC’s controlling statute is clear: Quality services should be available at just, reasonable, and affordable rates, he said.

Flexibility and changes also need to be added to the E-Rate program, which provides discount internet service to schools and libraries. Starks expressed anger over educational challenges caused by the pandemic.

Speaking of the FCC, he said, “our ability to respond to the educational challenges posed by COVID-19 has been hamstrung by the previous administration’s crabbed interpretation of the E-Rate statute.” Students will still continue with virtual school, and the program needs to better adapt for those that do.

Securing bipartisan support in Congress plays a major role in the success of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. Starks said he wants to study the relationship between affordability and lack of broadband adoption to improve federal subsidies for households needing broadband.

Digital Inclusion

Popularity Of Telework And Telehealth Presents Unique Opportunities For A Post-Pandemic World

A survey released earlier this month illustrates opportunities for remote work and care.

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

Screenshot of Hernan Galperin via YouTube

February 16, 2021 – Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program is currently a top priority for the regulatory agency.

The FCC has 60 days to determine how best to allocate the money from the program intended to reach “more disconnected low-income people and households of color than any previous FCC effort to close the digital divide,” he said at the Incompas summit on Feb. 9, alluding to its urgency.

Starks said he wants to take a different direction than what he called the poor handling by the previous FCC of the Lifeline program, which saw only 20 per cent of eligible low-income households subscribe to the program.

One way to do that where the previous FCC failed is outreach – to get the word out, he said.

Starks did thank the major internet providers who participated in the Keep America Connected pledge, which spared households from being cut off from internet service for 60 days if they couldn’t pay their bills and waived late fees during the pandemic.

Starks encouraged people to reach out to their internet providers and their constituents to increase participation in the emergency program. In Detroit, Michigan, nearly half the population lacks broadband access and 29,000 of those who do are students, which is a startling figure that demonstrates the urgent need for connectivity, he said.

Bearing the cost of developing and expanding broadband networks is a challenge to overcome. Starks compared the Lifeline program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and said if someone qualifies for SNAP, “then they should also learn about Lifeline.”

Accessing programs like these need to be as easy and possible. The FCC’s controlling statute is clear: Quality services should be available at just, reasonable, and affordable rates, he said.

Flexibility and changes also need to be added to the E-Rate program, which provides discount internet service to schools and libraries. Starks expressed anger over educational challenges caused by the pandemic.

Speaking of the FCC, he said, “our ability to respond to the educational challenges posed by COVID-19 has been hamstrung by the previous administration’s crabbed interpretation of the E-Rate statute.” Students will still continue with virtual school, and the program needs to better adapt for those that do.

Securing bipartisan support in Congress plays a major role in the success of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. Starks said he wants to study the relationship between affordability and lack of broadband adoption to improve federal subsidies for households needing broadband.

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Digital Inclusion

Virt Seeks To Serve As The Hub To Find And Join Virtual Events

Launched last week, virt.com hopes to take advantage of the rise in virtual events by crowdsourcing them in one place.

Tim White

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Photo of GHS co-founder Victor Zonana, left, from Global Health New Zealand

February 16, 2021 – Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program is currently a top priority for the regulatory agency.

The FCC has 60 days to determine how best to allocate the money from the program intended to reach “more disconnected low-income people and households of color than any previous FCC effort to close the digital divide,” he said at the Incompas summit on Feb. 9, alluding to its urgency.

Starks said he wants to take a different direction than what he called the poor handling by the previous FCC of the Lifeline program, which saw only 20 per cent of eligible low-income households subscribe to the program.

One way to do that where the previous FCC failed is outreach – to get the word out, he said.

Starks did thank the major internet providers who participated in the Keep America Connected pledge, which spared households from being cut off from internet service for 60 days if they couldn’t pay their bills and waived late fees during the pandemic.

Starks encouraged people to reach out to their internet providers and their constituents to increase participation in the emergency program. In Detroit, Michigan, nearly half the population lacks broadband access and 29,000 of those who do are students, which is a startling figure that demonstrates the urgent need for connectivity, he said.

Bearing the cost of developing and expanding broadband networks is a challenge to overcome. Starks compared the Lifeline program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and said if someone qualifies for SNAP, “then they should also learn about Lifeline.”

Accessing programs like these need to be as easy and possible. The FCC’s controlling statute is clear: Quality services should be available at just, reasonable, and affordable rates, he said.

Flexibility and changes also need to be added to the E-Rate program, which provides discount internet service to schools and libraries. Starks expressed anger over educational challenges caused by the pandemic.

Speaking of the FCC, he said, “our ability to respond to the educational challenges posed by COVID-19 has been hamstrung by the previous administration’s crabbed interpretation of the E-Rate statute.” Students will still continue with virtual school, and the program needs to better adapt for those that do.

Securing bipartisan support in Congress plays a major role in the success of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. Starks said he wants to study the relationship between affordability and lack of broadband adoption to improve federal subsidies for households needing broadband.

Continue Reading

Digital Inclusion

Starry and Non-Profit PCs for People Seek Affordable Connectivity, Affordable Devices and Digital Literacy

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

Photo of Starry Senior Vice President Virginia Adams from Public Knowledge

February 16, 2021 – Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program is currently a top priority for the regulatory agency.

The FCC has 60 days to determine how best to allocate the money from the program intended to reach “more disconnected low-income people and households of color than any previous FCC effort to close the digital divide,” he said at the Incompas summit on Feb. 9, alluding to its urgency.

Starks said he wants to take a different direction than what he called the poor handling by the previous FCC of the Lifeline program, which saw only 20 per cent of eligible low-income households subscribe to the program.

One way to do that where the previous FCC failed is outreach – to get the word out, he said.

Starks did thank the major internet providers who participated in the Keep America Connected pledge, which spared households from being cut off from internet service for 60 days if they couldn’t pay their bills and waived late fees during the pandemic.

Starks encouraged people to reach out to their internet providers and their constituents to increase participation in the emergency program. In Detroit, Michigan, nearly half the population lacks broadband access and 29,000 of those who do are students, which is a startling figure that demonstrates the urgent need for connectivity, he said.

Bearing the cost of developing and expanding broadband networks is a challenge to overcome. Starks compared the Lifeline program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and said if someone qualifies for SNAP, “then they should also learn about Lifeline.”

Accessing programs like these need to be as easy and possible. The FCC’s controlling statute is clear: Quality services should be available at just, reasonable, and affordable rates, he said.

Flexibility and changes also need to be added to the E-Rate program, which provides discount internet service to schools and libraries. Starks expressed anger over educational challenges caused by the pandemic.

Speaking of the FCC, he said, “our ability to respond to the educational challenges posed by COVID-19 has been hamstrung by the previous administration’s crabbed interpretation of the E-Rate statute.” Students will still continue with virtual school, and the program needs to better adapt for those that do.

Securing bipartisan support in Congress plays a major role in the success of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. Starks said he wants to study the relationship between affordability and lack of broadband adoption to improve federal subsidies for households needing broadband.

Continue Reading

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