July 22, 2017

Broward County Library Pilot Tackles Digital Divide

As part of an effort to bridge the digital divide, Broward County Library (BCL), FL, in partnership with T-Mobile, the county’s Enterprise Technology Services division, CareerSource Broward, and the School Board of Broward County, has launched a two-year pilot program that will provide 300 tablet computers and data access plans to eligible residents of the Broward Municipal Services District (BMSD).

WhiteSpace Project Could Grow Rural Broadband Access

Leveraging TV white space (TVWS)—unused, license-exempt portions of the radio spectrum that have been traditionally allocated to television broadcasters—could expand broadband Internet access in rural areas. The San Jose State University (SJSU) School of Information, in partnership with the Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN), has been assessing ways to do so through the Libraries WhiteSpace Project.

ALA, ARL Applaud FCC Vote on Net Neutrality

In a significant victory for supporters of Net Neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today reclassified broadband Internet as a public utility, and established a new Open Internet Order that applies to both fixed and mobile broadband. The new Open Internet Order includes three “bright line” rules, specifically banning broadband providers from blocking access to legal content, applications, and services; impairing access to content, applications, and services; and prioritizing Internet traffic in exchange for “consideration of any kind.”

CPL, NYPL WiFi Hotspot Lending Programs Funded by Knight Foundation Grants

In an effort to address the lack of broadband access among low-income residents, the Chicago Public Library (CPL), and New York Public Library (NYPL) on June 23 announced new programs that will allow patrons to check out and take home wifi hotspots. NYPL’s “Check Out the Internet,” and CPL’s “Internet to Go” programs are made possible, in part, by grants awarded this week by the Knight News Challenge, a competition developed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in partnership with the Ford Foundation and Mozilla, to fund and promote projects committed to making the Internet an open, equitable platform.

IMLS Holds Hearing on the Need for Broadband in Libraries

Though broadband Internet access has become more common in U.S. households during the past decade, the digital divide has not yet been bridged. In fact, challenges now loom larger than ever for households without broadband, said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Chief Librarian for the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) during his opening remarks at the “Libraries and Broadband: Urgency and Impact,” public hearing hosted by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on April 17. According to IMLS estimates, about 100 million Americans don’t have access to high-speed Internet at home, while 19 million don’t have any Internet access at home.

ALA Highlights Benefits of Federal Broadband Funding, Argues that E-Rate Must Be Enhanced to Sustain Progress

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s $4 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) has helped about 20 percent of U.S. libraries make improvements to publicly available technology resources and digital literacy within their communities, according to a report released on Monday by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP).

FCC Report Endorses 'Central Role' of Libraries in 'Information Life' of Communities

The FCC Working Group on the Information Needs of Communities delivered its report today on the media landscape in a broadband age. Although the report’s section on libraries contains nothing startling or new to those in the library community, the group does provide among its recommendations a strong endorsement of  the “central role” of libraries […]