Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

Weekly Wrap-Up, February 27, 2015

In its monthly meeting, FCC made some long awaited and much debated decisions. It approved net neutrality, reclassifying broadband as a utility. (Need a refresher on what net neutrality is, and why it matters? The Economist explains.) The vote was passed 3-2, with FCC commissioners voting along party lines. A few days before the decision, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai authored an op-ed explaining why believes regulation will be detrimental to Internet freedom. (You can read a summary of Commissioner Pai’s official dissenting opinion here.) As expected, cable companies are not enthused by the decision. Verizon was so angry, that the company chose to respond to the decision in Morse code. But cable companies aren’t alone; as Tory Newmyer reports in Fortune, big tech companies aren’t loudly celebrating, either.

The FCC also voted to grant Wilson, NC & Chattanooga, TN’s petitions, ruling against state limits on city-owned Internet service. Writing for the MIT Technology Review, Brian Bergstein contends that this ruling will mean more to the future of a more “open Internet” than net neutrality will.

Last week, Los Angeles Unified School District announced that it cannot afford to buy a device for every student in the district. The LA Times Editorial Board argues, however, that the district should try again. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote in Re/code about how the city of Los Angeles has always promoted an open Internet.

And finally, Facebook’s Internet.org released a report, “State of Connectivity: 2014,” which discusses the status of global Internet access. Lily Hay Newman explores the report on Slate’s Future Tense. The most staggering statistic? Only 37.9 percent of the global population uses the Internet once a year or more.


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