by Chris Witteman and Tracy Rosenberg. Originally published at 48 Hills.
Fourteen months of COVID quarantine made one thing clear: we need our broadband.
It used to be only media activists who insisted that Internet access was an essential service; now it’s accepted wisdom.
Unfortunately, the last year has also made clear that the current system is broken. Pictures of kids doing homework in parking lots because they have no broadband at home highlight the problem: The market has failed to deliver adequate broadband because there is no market.
High-speed broadband in most areas is available only from the monopoly cable company, occasionally from the duopoly phone company. It’s overpriced, unreliable, and – even based on the carriers’ overstated reporting — simply not available to millions of Californians – certainly not at the bandwidth needed for today’s applications.
People know this is so, despite industry propaganda to the contrary.
Californians need fast, modern Internet. Gov Newsom has responded with a budget that allots $7 billion — from a mix of state surplus dollars and federal rescue money – to actually build public broadband infrastructure rather than just talk about it or continue to throw money at the incumbents.
Continue reading California Could Vastly Expand Affordable Broadband — If The Legislature Acts Now
Media Alliance filed these joint comments with Global Exchange on behalf of the Protest Facebook section in the FCC’s proceeding on Section 230 of the Telecom Act.
Section 230 exempts online platforms from liability for their content. It is one of the pillars of the Internet that has allowed alternative content to thrive on the Internet. And in an era of disinformation, we are seeing the dark side of freedom from liability.
Media Alliance categorically rejects that Section 230 should be abolished or ended. Just as categorically, we believe that tempered regulation of online platforms to address the viral spread of disinformation and online hatred is called for.
Here are the comments we submitted to the FCC.
Continue reading Media Alliance comments on Section 230
218 groups, including industry, local governments, and human rights nonprofits, have written to Congress to insist that access to affordable broadband must be a part of upcoming stimulus packages.
The letter states:
Broadband enables people to work remotely, access medical care, and apply for governmental benefits. As all levels of education transition to online for the forseeable future, reliable Internet access is necessary for students to be successful. Like food, water and electricity, everyone needs broadband during this unprecedented crisis.
Continue reading 218 Groups Demand Affordable Broadband in Stimulus
A massive coalition of justice and equity groups has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand the Lifeline program to meet the challenges of the COVOD-19 epidemic.
The group made three demands.
- To immediately prohibit the disconnection of Lifeline (subsidized) connections
- To require Lifeline providers to unlimited voice and texting services within one week.
- To create an emergency Lifeline Broadband program within 21 days.
You can read the letter below.
Continue reading 252 Groups Ask FCC To Expand Lifeline