Posts Tagged: broadband

A Bumpy Ride on the Internet Access Highway: the FCC’s Net Neutrality Decision

Around many of America’s largest cities, high occupancy toll lanes offer drivers the option of paying to get to their destination faster.  Similarly, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner are gatekeepers to broadband Internet access lanes and have the ability assign priority lanes — with better quality and faster speeds — to those who pay a premium.  The ISPs also have an incentive to provide slower access and to block services that compete with their telephone and video services. Advocates for Internet neutrality – a term that connotes different things to different people – want the government to step in to ensure that Internet users (both subscribers and companies that work on the Internet) will have access to the services and applications they choose without interference.

In December, the Federal Communications Commission waded into the net neutrality debate, where Congress has thus far feared to tread, when it voted 3-2 to establish rules to preserve open Internet access.  With over 100,000 comments filed in the leadup to the FCC decision, it’s clear that the public is concerned about the future of access to the Internet. (more…)

Broadband programs going deeper in Illinois

Hammond, Ill.

It’s Friday and it’s time for an upbeat blog post that the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (a.k.a. the stimulus bill) has not only made the overall U.S. economy better but has benefited Illinois directly.

The Chicago Daily-Herald’s Jameel Naqvi has a helpful column today that catalogs the $292.5 million the state has received so far in stimulus money for broadband projects.  The source — perhaps surprisingly — is the Dept. of Agriculture (more…)

Modernizing Normal, Illinois

Broadband grants from the stimulus bill will fund a program intended to modernize the technological infrastructure of mostly rural central Illinois. (more…)

Broadband access: American public not so broad minded

Some people who don’t use broadband think they’re not missing much. But for those whose homes, libraries, public safety networks and healthcare facilities will have broadband access because of the $1.8 billion the government awarded last week, it will make a huge difference.

One of the larger of the 94 broadband projects funded last week – $28.8 million to Peoples Telephone Cooperative (PTC) in eastern Texas – will connect as many as 190 community institutions to broadband, benefitting as many as 241,000 people and 10,300 businesses, and creating an estimated 100 jobs.

The grants and loans announced last week are only a portion of the $7 billion (more…)

Broadband cash for Chicago

Broadband funding in the stimulus bill was largely billed as for rural areas without internet access. However, Chicago  will also get some of that federal money, the Associated Press reports. Two Chicago groups will get a combined $16 million in stimulus money for broadband, with the Dept. of Commerce providing $7 million to the Smart Chicago Broadband Adoption Program and $9 million to the Smart Chicago Public Computer Centers project.  The public computer centers project will (more…)

Broadband stimulus program finally starts

The Associated Press reports that Shawnee Telephone Company of Southern Illinois will get $7.4 million in stimulus money to expand broadband access in rural communities. The Dept. of Agriculture handles the $795 million in broadband grants via USDA’s Rural Utilities Services, a sub-agency that has been subject to critical audits. (more…)

A Series of Underregulated Tubes

Verizon and Comcast are energetically lobbying to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from regulating broadband. The Washington Post’s Cecilla Kang reports that the FCC is strongly considering whether to reclassify broadband internet service as “a common service carrier,” which means that broadband service providers would be regulated in the same way the FCC polices telephone companies. (more…)

FCC Hopes That Someday Everybody Will Read This Blog

The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Schatz reports that the Obama administration Federal Communications Commission has a different approach to broadband internet access than the George W. Bush FCC. While Bush wanted less regulation, the current five-member FCC panel wants more in order to expand internet access for all Americans. The FCC will reveal a national broadband plan to Congress in February. There’s no particular option for open internet access that will be accepted by companies like Verizon and AT&T that have quasi-monopolies over parts of the internet grid. But something should be done: a Harvard study last year, commissioned by the FCC,  showed that European and Asian countries with policies that encourage open access have faster and cheaper internet service.