Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

Weekly Wrap-Up, November 14, 2014

By Heisenberg Media (Flickr: Elon Musk - The Summit 2013) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsBy Heisenberg Media (Flickr: Elon Musk - The Summit 2013) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Nineteen U.S. states have laws that limit municipalities from improving Internet service networks for their residents. In the New York Times, Edward Wyatt reports on communities that are fighting these laws. If these barriers are dropped, Craig Settles considers, what happens next?

Joining the projects like Google Loon and Facebook’s Internet.org, Tesla founder Elon Musk (pictured above) wants to bring Internet to the world via approximately 700 satellites.

Comcast has been battling its reputation in Worcester, MA, where the city council voted 8-3 to reject the company’s request to take over the city’s cable from Charter Communications.

Teachers in Tulsa Public Schools argue that the digital divide “greatly impacts [students’] test scores.” Seventy-three percent of the surveyed teachers believe that it is important for students to have access to technology at home.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) asserted that Wi-Fi “is a human right.”

This was another big week for net neutrality: On Monday, President Obama offered his opinion on the debate, arguing that broadband ought to be reclassified under Title II. (Read more about his statement here and here.) FCC Chairman Wheeler responded, albeit noncommittally. (Remember that the FCC is an independent agency and isn’t constrained by the President’s opinion.)

Opinions on what the FCC should do vary, here are a selected few from the week: Stanford Law professor Barbara van Schewick thinks the FCC’s path forward is very clear. Harry Alford pushes the FCC to keep minorities in mind, especially when considering mobile Internet. AT&T has decided to push pause on its fiber expansion project in fear of strong net neutrality rules, as proposed by the president.

And finally, Charleston, SC is now one of more than 50 cities across the United States to offer free Wi-Fi in public spaces, like local parks.


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