March 10, 2022 — Five nonprofits across the country on Wednesday launched Opportunity Broadband, a nonprofit that will help effectively distribute the nation’s investment in broadband access.
The new nonprofit will identify barriers to universal broadband access, including gaps in technological advancements in social sectors such as health and education, and work to help communities to access. The organization also plans to organize a conference this summer.
Opportunity Broadband is made up of Pew Charitable Trusts, Heartland Forward, Michigan State University’s James H. and Mary B. Quello Center, Small Business Majority, and the XR Association, all of which are committed to providing national access to the high through laws such as the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, which will provide $65 billion for broadband infrastructure nationwide.
“Now is the time to ensure that the benefits of connectivity are available to all communities,” Catherine deWit, project director of The Pew Charitable Trusts Broadband Access Initiative, said in a press release. “Universally available and affordable broadband, access to devices and digital literacy are the first, and not the only, steps towards achieving this goal.
“But no organization can take these steps alone. Delivering on the promise of digital equity will require focus, investment and sustained partnerships that cross sectors and industries, which is why we are excited to have these organizations and companies join in this important work.
Justice Department alerted to alleged Amazon misconduct
In a 24-page letter released Wednesday, bipartisan members of the House Judiciary wrote to the Justice Department alleging that Amazon obstructed the committee’s “thorough investigation into competition in digital markets,” which took place at the last Congress.
The panel alleges that Amazon lied about its use of third-party seller data to help boost sales of their own similar products. Although he gave Amazon a chance to tell the truth, the panel alleges the company denied their actions.
“Without producing any evidence to the contrary, Amazon left open what appear to be false and misleading statements to the Committee,” the letter said. “He declined to hand over any business documents or communications that would support his claims or correct the record.
“And he appears to have done so to conceal the truth about his use of third-party seller data to benefit his private label business and his preference for private label products in search results – subjects of the investigation. Accordingly, we have no choice but to refer this matter to the Department of Justice to investigate whether Amazon and its executives obstructed Congress in violation of applicable federal law” , indicates the letter.
Amazon sells its own line of products under the Amazon Basics label.
USTelecom president says ‘no’ to overbuilding
The head of trade association USTelecom on Wednesday denounced the idea of using funds from the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act to create broadband access to areas already accessible through other funds. federal.
“Since the passage of the Infrastructure Act, certain entities have aggressively pushed Congress, the NTIA and states to authorize new federal funds to subsidize the same areas they have already committed to serve through programs such as [Rural Digital Opportunity Fund]”, Jonathan Spaler said Wednesday in a blog post.
“Regulatory arbitrage, double dipping? Call it what you want, but it’s a terrible idea,” he said.
Spalter’s statement comes after much debate about whether overbuilding broadband infrastructure in places that already have broadband access is necessary or unnecessary. In a Broadband Breakfast op-ed, former federal communications commissioner Mike O’Rielly warned against overbuilding and urged the federal government to “stay focused on serving the truly unserved.”
But during a Broadband Breakfast live event in January, chip pickingthe CEO of the trade association for telecommunications competition INCOMPAS, said “new build” on existing infrastructure is good as long as the funds subsidize newer, better networks, not older technologies .