Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

Weekly Wrap-Up, June 19, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission, Commissioners Group Photo, November 2013.The Federal Communications Commission, Commissioners Group Photo, November 2013.

Frontier Communications accepted more than $283 million from the FCC’s Connect America Fund, the Commission’s fund to accelerate the build-out of broadband. Frontier will use the money to deploy broadband in more than 650,000 rural locations in its footprint.

On August 04, 2015, Minnesota will celebrate its first Rural Broadband Day at Minnesota farmfest.

This week, the FCC commissioners, pictured above, voted to move forward with modernizing its Lifeline program. As Alison Griswold reports for Slate, the 3-2 vote for the proposed rulemaking was along party lines. The main focus of the proposal is to expand Lifeline to allow participants to apply a subsidy to Internet service plans.

FreedomPop, which had been in merger talks, decided to end those discussions. It will continue on its own, and raised another $30 million to help finance its discounted wireless offers.

The FCC announced that it will fine AT&T $100 million because the company had been throttling Internet speeds for customers with unlimited data plans.

And finally, the Kentucky Department of Education has approved nontraditional means of school during snow days next year. For students with Internet access at home, this will mean they can complete assignments online. Students without, though, will receive printed packets. While the idea of minimizing the number of snow days is innovative and laudable, this initiative shows the growing impact the digital divide has on students and their education. To fix this problem, we need to get everyone online.


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