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Broadband Roundup

More Emergency Broadband Funding for Homes, Pandemic and Privacy, Facebook and Australian News

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Photo of Stuart Brotman by Paul Morigi from December 2016 used with permission

March 1, 2021—The House of Representatives on Saturday morning passed a bill that would fund $7.6 billion, out of the $1.9 trillion care package, to prop-up the E-Rate program and extend it to homes.

The bill would expand the internet subsidy program for libraries and schools by shuttling the money to the Emergency Connectivity Fund to help teachers and students access broadband from secondary locations not on school or library property.

That means libraries and schools will be able to reimburse households for internet service they purchase to continue learning at home. It comes after leaders in the industry have called for an expansion of the years-old program to households in light of the pandemic.

The bill, which passed the House on February 2 without Republican support and only two opposing Democrats, will have face a Senate vote.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund, previously signed into law in December 2020, secured $3.2 billion to expand broadband coverage to underserved communities and households in need. Households that qualified for the program could receive $50 a month to subsidize the cost of broadband coverage, and households on tribal lands could receive up to $75 per month.

Pandemic muddying laws associated with consumer privacy

Some laws passed before or at the outset of the pandemic have aged poorly. In a piece for The Media Institute, Stuart Brotman pointed to Virginia’s pending Consumer Data Protection Act as legislation that would still not account for what he refers to as the “new normal.”

The bill, which received bipartisan support, is designed to require those who peddle consumer data to allow consumers to opt out of having their data sold or correct errors in the data being collected, among other things, which is in-line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

According to Brotman, legislation like Virginia’s CDPA does not sufficiently address the blurred lines between work and home that were created by the pandemic. The bill is designed specifically to protect those operating in a “household context” but not those in a “commercial or employment context.” This language does not account for the fact that for many Virginians, these contexts are one and the same.

“The larger lesson both for this legislation and for the other states with comparable bills in process is simple,” Brotman said in his piece. “Digital privacy protection needs to be envisioned for pandemic times.”

Facebook allows Australian news back on platform after rift

Facebook began allowing Australian news back onto its platform last week, following a rift over regulations of the social media giant that saw Facebook block Australian news on its platform.

Australia’s answer to the problem of declining revenues and social media’s monopoly on advertising dollars was to force platforms like Facebook to negotiate directly with publishers and broadcasters to allow their content to be distributed on their platform.

The legislation that raised these concerns is known as “Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021,” and it entered its third round of reading on February 17.

The America Enterprise Institute said in a post last week that the legislation is problematic because it does not “account for the very different ways in which Facebook and Google access and use content.”

Though both parties have since come to an agreement, debate about the implications of such a move lingers. Questions still remain about why Facebook took this course of action while organizations like Google did not.

As a child of American parents working abroad, Reporter Ben Kahn was raised as a third culture kid, growing up in five different countries, including the U.S.. He is a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore, where he majored in Policy, Politics, and International Affairs. He enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures and can now speak poorly in more than one language.

Broadband Roundup

Lina Khan Advances In FTC Bid, Biden Signs Executive Order On Cybersecurity, And Commits To Combatting Extremism

Lina Khan continues toward FTC role, Biden makes cybersecurity order after Colonial Pipeline, and U.S. joins the Christchurch call.

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Lina Khan continues bid for lead on FTC

March 1, 2021—The House of Representatives on Saturday morning passed a bill that would fund $7.6 billion, out of the $1.9 trillion care package, to prop-up the E-Rate program and extend it to homes.

The bill would expand the internet subsidy program for libraries and schools by shuttling the money to the Emergency Connectivity Fund to help teachers and students access broadband from secondary locations not on school or library property.

That means libraries and schools will be able to reimburse households for internet service they purchase to continue learning at home. It comes after leaders in the industry have called for an expansion of the years-old program to households in light of the pandemic.

The bill, which passed the House on February 2 without Republican support and only two opposing Democrats, will have face a Senate vote.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund, previously signed into law in December 2020, secured $3.2 billion to expand broadband coverage to underserved communities and households in need. Households that qualified for the program could receive $50 a month to subsidize the cost of broadband coverage, and households on tribal lands could receive up to $75 per month.

Pandemic muddying laws associated with consumer privacy

Some laws passed before or at the outset of the pandemic have aged poorly. In a piece for The Media Institute, Stuart Brotman pointed to Virginia’s pending Consumer Data Protection Act as legislation that would still not account for what he refers to as the “new normal.”

The bill, which received bipartisan support, is designed to require those who peddle consumer data to allow consumers to opt out of having their data sold or correct errors in the data being collected, among other things, which is in-line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

According to Brotman, legislation like Virginia’s CDPA does not sufficiently address the blurred lines between work and home that were created by the pandemic. The bill is designed specifically to protect those operating in a “household context” but not those in a “commercial or employment context.” This language does not account for the fact that for many Virginians, these contexts are one and the same.

“The larger lesson both for this legislation and for the other states with comparable bills in process is simple,” Brotman said in his piece. “Digital privacy protection needs to be envisioned for pandemic times.”

Facebook allows Australian news back on platform after rift

Facebook began allowing Australian news back onto its platform last week, following a rift over regulations of the social media giant that saw Facebook block Australian news on its platform.

Australia’s answer to the problem of declining revenues and social media’s monopoly on advertising dollars was to force platforms like Facebook to negotiate directly with publishers and broadcasters to allow their content to be distributed on their platform.

The legislation that raised these concerns is known as “Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021,” and it entered its third round of reading on February 17.

The America Enterprise Institute said in a post last week that the legislation is problematic because it does not “account for the very different ways in which Facebook and Google access and use content.”

Though both parties have since come to an agreement, debate about the implications of such a move lingers. Questions still remain about why Facebook took this course of action while organizations like Google did not.

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

Vermont Looks To Expand Coverage, California Moves On Passive Infrastructure, AT&T Gets DoT Contract, Cisco Buys Sedona

Vermont looks to expand broadband, California looks at passive infrastructure, AT&T gets DoT contract, and Cisco to buy Sedona.

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Vermont Governor Phil Scott

March 1, 2021—The House of Representatives on Saturday morning passed a bill that would fund $7.6 billion, out of the $1.9 trillion care package, to prop-up the E-Rate program and extend it to homes.

The bill would expand the internet subsidy program for libraries and schools by shuttling the money to the Emergency Connectivity Fund to help teachers and students access broadband from secondary locations not on school or library property.

That means libraries and schools will be able to reimburse households for internet service they purchase to continue learning at home. It comes after leaders in the industry have called for an expansion of the years-old program to households in light of the pandemic.

The bill, which passed the House on February 2 without Republican support and only two opposing Democrats, will have face a Senate vote.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund, previously signed into law in December 2020, secured $3.2 billion to expand broadband coverage to underserved communities and households in need. Households that qualified for the program could receive $50 a month to subsidize the cost of broadband coverage, and households on tribal lands could receive up to $75 per month.

Pandemic muddying laws associated with consumer privacy

Some laws passed before or at the outset of the pandemic have aged poorly. In a piece for The Media Institute, Stuart Brotman pointed to Virginia’s pending Consumer Data Protection Act as legislation that would still not account for what he refers to as the “new normal.”

The bill, which received bipartisan support, is designed to require those who peddle consumer data to allow consumers to opt out of having their data sold or correct errors in the data being collected, among other things, which is in-line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

According to Brotman, legislation like Virginia’s CDPA does not sufficiently address the blurred lines between work and home that were created by the pandemic. The bill is designed specifically to protect those operating in a “household context” but not those in a “commercial or employment context.” This language does not account for the fact that for many Virginians, these contexts are one and the same.

“The larger lesson both for this legislation and for the other states with comparable bills in process is simple,” Brotman said in his piece. “Digital privacy protection needs to be envisioned for pandemic times.”

Facebook allows Australian news back on platform after rift

Facebook began allowing Australian news back onto its platform last week, following a rift over regulations of the social media giant that saw Facebook block Australian news on its platform.

Australia’s answer to the problem of declining revenues and social media’s monopoly on advertising dollars was to force platforms like Facebook to negotiate directly with publishers and broadcasters to allow their content to be distributed on their platform.

The legislation that raised these concerns is known as “Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021,” and it entered its third round of reading on February 17.

The America Enterprise Institute said in a post last week that the legislation is problematic because it does not “account for the very different ways in which Facebook and Google access and use content.”

Though both parties have since come to an agreement, debate about the implications of such a move lingers. Questions still remain about why Facebook took this course of action while organizations like Google did not.

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

Alabama Dispenses $17M In Broadband Funds, New Broadband Mapping Insight, Pipeline Attack

Ivey announces $17 million to deploy broadband, Microsoft data for broadband map, and “Robin Hood” group involved in pipeline attack.

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Photo of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey

March 1, 2021—The House of Representatives on Saturday morning passed a bill that would fund $7.6 billion, out of the $1.9 trillion care package, to prop-up the E-Rate program and extend it to homes.

The bill would expand the internet subsidy program for libraries and schools by shuttling the money to the Emergency Connectivity Fund to help teachers and students access broadband from secondary locations not on school or library property.

That means libraries and schools will be able to reimburse households for internet service they purchase to continue learning at home. It comes after leaders in the industry have called for an expansion of the years-old program to households in light of the pandemic.

The bill, which passed the House on February 2 without Republican support and only two opposing Democrats, will have face a Senate vote.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund, previously signed into law in December 2020, secured $3.2 billion to expand broadband coverage to underserved communities and households in need. Households that qualified for the program could receive $50 a month to subsidize the cost of broadband coverage, and households on tribal lands could receive up to $75 per month.

Pandemic muddying laws associated with consumer privacy

Some laws passed before or at the outset of the pandemic have aged poorly. In a piece for The Media Institute, Stuart Brotman pointed to Virginia’s pending Consumer Data Protection Act as legislation that would still not account for what he refers to as the “new normal.”

The bill, which received bipartisan support, is designed to require those who peddle consumer data to allow consumers to opt out of having their data sold or correct errors in the data being collected, among other things, which is in-line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

According to Brotman, legislation like Virginia’s CDPA does not sufficiently address the blurred lines between work and home that were created by the pandemic. The bill is designed specifically to protect those operating in a “household context” but not those in a “commercial or employment context.” This language does not account for the fact that for many Virginians, these contexts are one and the same.

“The larger lesson both for this legislation and for the other states with comparable bills in process is simple,” Brotman said in his piece. “Digital privacy protection needs to be envisioned for pandemic times.”

Facebook allows Australian news back on platform after rift

Facebook began allowing Australian news back onto its platform last week, following a rift over regulations of the social media giant that saw Facebook block Australian news on its platform.

Australia’s answer to the problem of declining revenues and social media’s monopoly on advertising dollars was to force platforms like Facebook to negotiate directly with publishers and broadcasters to allow their content to be distributed on their platform.

The legislation that raised these concerns is known as “Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021,” and it entered its third round of reading on February 17.

The America Enterprise Institute said in a post last week that the legislation is problematic because it does not “account for the very different ways in which Facebook and Google access and use content.”

Though both parties have since come to an agreement, debate about the implications of such a move lingers. Questions still remain about why Facebook took this course of action while organizations like Google did not.

Continue Reading

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