How does the CARES Act Help Close the Digital Divide?
While the coronavirus pandemic has taught America about how entertaining puzzles and baking bread can be, it has also exposed how dependent we are on broadband and how far too many Americans – especially students – lack access at home. Two weeks ago, Congress passed historic legislation called the CARES Act to respond to the
New Pew Research Identifies State Programs to Close the Digital Divide
While much of the attention on broadband policy focuses on federal efforts, new research from the Pew Charitable Trusts documents numerous state efforts to close the digital divide. States have come to realize broadband is critical to many aspects of American life, and are stepping up to fill the gaps left by federal policy and
FCC Opens Rural Tribal Window for EBS Spectrum
On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the Rural Tribal Priority Window, which is an application window that allows rural tribes to apply for an Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum license for free. This is the first time the FCC has opened an application window specifically for rural tribes. Tribal nations experience some of
FCC to Spend Subsidy Money on Satellites
Voqal strongly believes that closing the digital divide is integral to closing the social justice and equity gap in America. That is one of the reasons why Voqal created Mobile Citizen, a project that distributes wireless hotspots to students (via educational institutions), low-income families (via nonprofit resellers) and nonprofit organizations. There are two key components
2019 Annual Report Spotlight: Building a Movement to Protect the Public Airwaves
We continue our look back at 2019 with another spotlight from our FY 2019 Annual Report: Build the Movement. This week’s article is focused on the work of Voqal and its partners in the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) community to build a movement aimed at keeping the EBS spectrum band educational. Public airwaves – or
How C-Band Auction Revenues can Address the Digital Divide
Last week, we covered the state of play regarding a valuable piece of spectrum called the C-Band. This 500 MHz chunk of spectrum, which sits between 3.7 GHz and 4.2 GHz, is primarily used by satellites and earth stations for video programming. But the FCC and wireless companies want to repurpose a portion of this
How Will Congress Spend Over $40 Billion in C-Band Auction Revenues?
In our latest telecommunications update, Voqal director of telecommunications strategy, Mark Colwell, takes an in-depth look at the recent decision by the FCC to hold a public auction of the C-Band of spectrum. In the race to 5G, American wireless companies are sorely lacking one essential ingredient: mid-band spectrum. Often dubbed the “goldilocks” spectrum, mid-band
New FCC Report Shows that Wireless Carriers Exaggerate Coverage
On December 4, the FCC made a major announcement that the Commission would repurpose $9 billion to fund 5G deployment in rural America. So where exactly would the money go? Buried in the press release were the findings of a year-long investigation into the accuracy of cell phone network coverage maps. Mapping is important for
FCC Chairman Releases New Information on Rural Tribal Priority Window
In July, we highlighted the overwhelmingly poor decision by the FCC to commercialize the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum band before educators had an opportunity to apply for licenses. While the majority of the rulemaking was bad news, one of the positive decisions made by the FCC was to create a Rural Tribal Priority Window.
Congress, Tribes Again Express Concern with FCC’s EBS Tribal Window Rollout
It has been over 4 months since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to overhaul the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum band (2.5 GHz) and prepare it for commercial auction. As EBS licensees, Voqal strongly opposed the Commission’s decision because it was an enormous missed opportunity not only to strengthen educational benefits, but also to