The business end of digital skills: everybody wins – households can gain $1,363 to $2,879 per year

The National Skills Coalition took a look at the impact of digital skills training on workers, the word force and businesses…

The findings in this analysis are unequivocal:

There is overwhelming demand for digital skills in the labor market, with 92 percent of all job ads requiring definitely digital or likely digital2 skills. This demand is robust across all industries, and small businesses are just as likely as their larger peers to seek workers with technology skills.

Yet many workers have not had sufficient opportunity to build such skills; earlier research found that nearly one-third of U.S. workers do not have foundational digital skills, and workers of color fall disproportionately into this category due to structural inequities.3

Equipping workers with necessary skills requires action by both private employers and public policy[1]makers. Notably, public investments in workforce development and education are especially vital given the unevenness of private investments and the prevalence of digital skill demands among smaller businesses, which depend on publicly funded work[1]force and education partners to upskill employees.

Closing the digital skill divide has major payoffs for businesses. Prior research has shown that workers value upskilling opportunities and prefer working for employers who offer clear, well-defined path[1]ways to advancement.4 Because turnover has heavy costs for businesses – with estimates ranging from $25,000 for workers who leave within the first year to over $78,000 for workers who leave after five years,5 averting or delaying turnover by ensuring that workers have upskilling opportunities can be economically significant.

Public investments in closing the digital skill divide can also generate economic benefits for individual workers and the broader economy. People who qualify for jobs that require even one digital skill can earn an average of 23 percent more than those working in jobs requiring no digital skills — an increase of $8,000 per year for an individual worker.6 These increased earnings could result in more state and federal tax revenue generated by each worker. Depending on the household size and composition, this could range from $1,363 to $2,879 per year.7

Office of Broadband Development urges MN to play role in Digital Equity Plan

The Office of Broadband Development is reaching out to folks to join the effort to get better broadband…

Lack of affordable internet access, lack of an internet-enabled device, and limited digital skills aren’t just an inconvenience. They hold people back from educational and employment opportunities, civic engagement, timely and affordable health care, and staying connected with friends and family. 

Some communities and individuals may be more likely to lack digital access and may have a greater need for digital skills training, including older Minnesotans, people who live in rural communities, Black Minnesotans, Indigenous people, people of color, and others. Digital access and skills are needed to engage with school and education, find employment, access health care resources and more. That’s why efforts to achieve digital equity are so important.  

DEED’s Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is developing a digital equity plan to create improvements in internet affordability, access to internet-enabled devices, and ways to provide digital skills training. We want to hear from Minnesotans most impacted by the digital access and skills gap to ensure our digital equity plan reflects the goals and needs of all Minnesotans. This plan will help us determine how to spend federal funding coming in 2024 aimed at increasing digital access and skills. 

Cities, counties, schools, libraries, faith communities, businesses, internet providers, nonprofits, and other organizations are encouraged to form Digital Connection Committees and partner with us to share these critical insights. We’re hoping these committees can gather information about local digital inclusion strengths, needs, and goals, and then share summaries with OBD. Information can be gathered however it works best for a community or organization. It could be a conversation circle, a survey, an asset inventory of existing digital inclusion resources – or some other way. The workload is flexible, and we look forward to working with Digital Connection Committees to bring creative ideas to life. 

Committees are especially encouraged to include members who are: 

  • 60 or older 
  • Currently or formerly incarcerated 
  • Current or former members of the U.S. military 
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color 
  • People with disabilities 
  • Low-income households 
  • Learning to speak or read English 
  • Living in rural communities. 

To help support the work of Digital Connection Committees, OBD will provide resources, templates, and general guidance. OBD is also offering optional, non-competitive mini-grants to eligible Digital Connection Committees. To receive a mini-grant, committees can apply by filling out a short application by March 3, 2023.  

In addition, Digital Connection Committees need to complete this form to register with our office by March 15, 2023, and complete their work by June 30 of this year. 

Find more details on DEED’s OBD website

State of Digital Inequity: we need to understand and remember it to build equity

Connect Humanity published the State of Digital Inequity: Civil Society Perspectives on Barriers to Progress in our Digitizing World, a global look at barriers that prevent people from fully participating in the world that most of us take for granted. I always love a report like this but I was wondering if there was a place for it in blog given the global scope and well, it’s kind of librarian-nerdy. Then I went to the Capitol where Senator Kunesch asked a good question about digital equity with communities of color. (The quick answer is that Minnesota is working on a digital equity plan – and you can help!) And last week several Representatives asked questions that indicated they were so far away from folks who are unserved that they didn’t know what to ask.

And then I saw the banner at the right and I remembered that most of the world takes technology for granted. It’s a tool that we have and use because we have broadband, a device (or two) and the skills to use it. Then there’s another part of the world who doesn’t have access and because of it, they can’t even speak up about the need. They can’t send emails or TikToks to get the attention they need. To close the gap, we have to remember it and understand it. The report is full of good info and statistics but here are their key findings:

  • Infrastructure & Access: Inadequate or unavailable internet access affects everyone, but the people CSOs serve are more likely to be impacted by a lack of connectivity due to poor infrastructure and issues with their internet providers.
  • Policy: While CSOs view access to both information and the internet as basic rights, many CSOs feel their governments do not have policies that support this.
  • Content: When it comes to the resources that motivate people to use the internet, email and chat services are by far the most important to CSOs and the people they serve. It is important that these services are available in local languages, which, the survey shows, they mostly are.
  • Affordability: The high cost of both devices and internet access remains a significant barrier for both CSOs and the people they serve and prevents them from participating meaning-fully in our digital world.
  • Digital Skills: Though CSOs agree that digital skills are important, a lack of training on how to use the internet and digital devices is a major issue for both CSOs and the people they serve. Few feel their employees are well trained on the devices and software they use

EVENT Feb 16: ILSR’s Building for Digital Equity Returns

The Institute for Local Self Reliance reports

Save the date! ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks team is back for a second season of our Building for Digital Equity series.

You can register now here.

The free online live stream will be held on Feb. 16 from 2-3 pm CST/3-4 pm ET.

We will unpack how local communities are working with their states to challenge the FCC’s broadband maps, bringing together local stakeholders, policy advocates, and GIS and Data Visualization Specialists in one place. We will also cover local organizing for better broadband and the latest on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

EVENT Feb 13: Affordable Connectivity Program Sign Up Day in Ball Club (Itasca County)

News for folks in Itasca County and an idea for folks who aren’t…

Paul Bunyan Communications, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) are holding a sign-up day for the Affordable Connectivity Program, on Monday, February 13 from 1-6 p.m. at the Lone Eagle Community Center in Ball Club.

This new long-term benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households struggling to afford internet service and provides a discount of up to a $30 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands.

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines;
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
  • Participates inone of several Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard) Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
  • Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income program.

Eligible households can enroll at the sign-up event, through a participating broadband provider, or by going to ACPBenefit.org to submit an online application or print a mail-in application and contacting their preferred participating broadband provider and selecting a plan.  Additional information about the Affordable Connectivity Program Benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/ACP, or by calling 877-384-2575 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET any day of the week.

Do you have a broadband story to tell? Give it to the FCC

The FCC is looking for stories to help them with their efforts to prevent digital discrimination. If you have a story, please share it with the FCC- and you’re welcome to send to me as well and perhaps I could share it here too…

The FCC’s Task Force to Prevent Digital Discrimination today announced it is offering consumers an opportunity to share their stories and experiences in obtaining broadband internet access. Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel established the Task Force to serve as a cross-agency effort focused on creating rules and policies to combat digital discrimination and to promote equal access to broadband access across the country, regardless of zip code, income level, ethnicity, race, religion, or national origin. …

In furtherance of the goals to create a framework for addressing digital discrimination and the FCC’s ongoing efforts to identify and address harms experienced by historically excluded and marginalized communities, this new form provides a way for consumers to share their broadband access experiences. Stories shared by consumers will help to inform the work of the Task Force. For more information about the Task Force’s work, visit the Task Force’s webpage. Interested stakeholders also can use this webpage to request meetings with the Task Force.

EVENT Jan 18: By the Numbers: Understanding and Driving Enrollment in the ACP

From the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society…

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society invites you to join us for an online panel discussion on January 18, 2023 at 1:00pm ET/10:00am PT to learn about how the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is helping connect low-income Americans to the internet, and how and where the program could be leveraged better.

Here’s more info…

The panel – moderated by Drew Garner, State Broadband Policy Advisor at Common Sense Media – will take a closer look at some of these outreach strategies and their impact on ACP enrollment. Drew will be joined by Benton Senior Fellow John Horrigan, who has done extensive research on the ACP enrollment trends, identifying which cities and regions have had greater success and pinpointing why. Dr. Andra Daunhauer, Executive Director at Equal Access to Broadband in Vermont, and Elizabeth Ramirez, Community Digital Navigator of ConnectWaukegan in Illinois will delve deeper into the challenges of getting eligible households enrolled and how their respective projects work creatively and persistently to address these challenges.

Is a Community Phone really a landline replacement?

Telecompetitor reports on a new phone solution for folks who want a landline or maybe more for providers who don’t want to offer that option…

As providers begin to decommission copper networks, startup Community Phone sees an opportunity to cash in by serving people who would prefer not to make any big changes. Telecompetitor talked to Community Phone CEO and founder James Graham to learn more about how the landline replacement service works and who buys it. …

The offering works over a cellular connection but works with an existing landline phone and doesn’t require internet connectivity, Graham explained. The company has agreements with multiple cellular providers and can provide service even in rural areas where people may think cellular doesn’t work, thanks to the company’s antenna design and because service isn’t mobile, he said.

The timing seems serendipitous. I just heard a national provider tell a MN House Committee that 75 percent of their revenue does not come from residential services. The undercurrent I understood to be, we’re losing interest in serving phone and broadband services to rural areas. At a time when recent survey showed 80+ percent of MN homes and businesses with landlines wanted to keep them.

I applaud improvements in technology, and I understand the market wanting landlines is shrinking and the market cutting the cord is growing but it’s called a “lifeline” for a reason and people need to have access, especially in remote areas.

Another hiccup it seems that this new solution requires power. As I recall having access to a phone even during a power outage was one reason people lived landlines.

“They open the box, take it out of the box, plug it into a power outlet and take their phone out of the RJ-11 jack and plug it into our hardware,” he explained.

Why is computer ownership less in rural areas? How can it improve?

Digitunity is a national organization working to close technology gaps. They recently published a report (Rural Communities & Digital Device Ownership: Barriers & Opportunities) on device ownership in rural areas. They looked at three important factors that speak to the need and hampered solution to low computer ownership:

  • Current ownership and rural demographics that do not match up with computer ownership
  • Fewer options for getting refurbished computers or discount devices (even due to ACP)
  • Fewer organizations offering help connect users to computers

The challenge for households?

If universal computer ownership is the goal, this “status quo” means rural communities face an uphill battle. There are a larger percentage of households to reach and a larger number of miles to cover to reach them.

The challenge for business support?

Rural locations typically have fewer options for supplying devices than more urban areas. Local businesses are often an important source of previously used computers. They feature heavily in donation efforts for many device drives (Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 2021).

The challenge for nonprofit/community support?

Technology-focused nonprofit spending is especially low in rural locations, with $40 spent by an urban nonprofit for each $1 spent by a rural nonprofit (Neuhoff & Dunckelman, 2011). Other studies found that organizational capacity is lacking in rural nonprofits (Walters, 2020). Part of this may be due to significantly more square miles being covered per organization (Neuhoff & Dunckelman, 2011).

Recommendations?

  1. Build on What You Have

Rural areas tend to have a higher percentage of lower-income and elderly individuals, and less robust nonprofits and libraries to engage with them. However, other support

networks also exist in rural America, such as religious organizations, book or quilting clubs, or farm cooperatives that often work with these exact demographics.

  1. Develop Rural-Urban Linkages

Distance to urban areas with device refurbishers or computer repair businesses is

another rural disadvantage. However, once a relationship is established, opportunities

exist for mutual benefit (Mayer et al., 2016).

EVENT Jan 10: Ramsey County Commissioners discuss Connectivity Blueprint and Digital Equity Efforts

From an email alter from the Connectivity Blueprint team…

The Connectivity Blueprint’s lessons of engagement and recommendations are taking shape, as statewide and national efforts to address digital equity roll out. Here are ways you can get involved in the coming weeks:

 

  • Ramsey County Board Workshop (Jan. 10): Click here to watch online or download materials.

MN awarded $5.8 Million in Internet for All Planning Grants

NTIA reports

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Minnesota received its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. Minnesota is receiving $5,881,905.10 in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden, to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the state.

“Closing the digital divide is essential for Minnesotans to access healthcare, obtain good, high-paying jobs, and connect rural communities who have far too long been disconnected,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I appreciate Governor Walz and his team for their commitment to connecting Minnesotans to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service.”

“These resources, based on my legislation to bring high-speed, affordable broadband to all corners of our country, will ensure that more Minnesotans can connect to work, school, health care and business opportunities,” said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “As co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, I’ll keep fighting to close the digital divide and help families across our state reliably access the high-speed internet they need.”

“Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st century – it isn’t just nice to have, it’s necessary if we’re going to build an economy that works for everyone,” said Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith. “This funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will expand access to affordable, high-speed internet to thousands of Minnesotans. It will also fund programs aimed at promoting digital equity and inclusion so that every Minnesotan, no matter their zip code, has internet access. I’m proud of our work to secure these investments and will continue looking for ways to close the digital divide.”

All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative’s Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. Grant awards for all 56 eligible entities will be announced on a rolling basis.

About Minnesota’s Planning Grants

Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program

The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.

Minnesota will receive $5 million to fund various activities including:

  • Identification of unserved and underserved locations;
  • Efforts to support local coordination including outreach to diverse stakeholders across the Minnesota;
  • Planning and capacity-building of the state’s broadband office;
  • Local engagement with unserved, underserved, and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to Internet adoption.

Digital Equity

The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The first part of NTIA’s execution of the Digital Equity Act is to fund digital equity planning efforts.

Minnesota will receive $881,905.10 to fund various activities including:

  • Development of a statewide digital equity plan to close the digital equity gap;
  • Recruiting staff to help develop the plan;
  • Engagement of local community members and stakeholders on digital equity issues.

Internet for All

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to learn more.

For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.

RESOURCE: NDIA Releases State Digital Equity Plan Toolkit

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance reports…

The Digital Equity Act (DEA) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to design systems that will enable true digital equity. Congress and NTIA outlined specifics for states to include in their digital equity plans. The NDIA State Digital Equity Plan Toolkit provides guidance on how to compile the plans.

It is a nice step-by-step guide. It really is a gift to folks who need to be gathering the information to make a case for optimal federal funding from BEAD and any other federal resources. I’ve said it again and again but never hurts to remind folks that unprecedented amounts of funding will be invested in broadband over the next few years and now it the time to make the case that it should come to us in Minnesota. (Or wherever you live!)

Benton Institute offers four broadband adoption lessons for policymakers

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society took a look at the great increase in broadband adoption during the pandemic (Broadband Benefit Programs are Helping to Close the Digital Divide: Four Lessons for Policymakers). They looked at where increases were greatest, what connections were most popular and tracked what seemed to encourage greater use. They came up with four lessons:

1. Discover, grow, and replicate

The data show that progress is possible. State broadband planners should determine where it is happening, build upon it, and replicate it in other parts of the state.

2. Do not grow complacent—subscription vulnerability is a persistent problem

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is scheduled to sunset when funding runs out—which could occur sometime in 2024. Policymakers should extend the program beyond its current funding limit.

3. Focus more on affordability and less on technology

Adoption patterns have shifted under the  ACP. Through September 2022, 56% of the 13.5 million ACP enrollees are wireless users, with 43% having enrolled in wireline service. These shifting adoption patterns indicate that the ACP-eligible population is using the subsidy to satisfy their affordability needs as they see them.

4. Take a bow, but don’t take a rest

We are in an era when the potential to tackle the digital divide has never been greater. Maintaining funding to help households address affordability challenges is a looming concern.

As part of the process, they looked at adoption rates in major US cities. Here’s what they found in Minneapolis:

Population 188,681
Percent At or Below 125% Federal Poverty Level 19.1%
Wireline Change 2019 to 2021 6.2%
Wireline Change 2017 to 2021 7.1%
Desktop/ Laptop Change 2019 to 2021 5.6%
Cell Only Change 2017 to 2021 0.4%
Cell Only Change 2019 to 2021 −2.3%
Tablet Change 2019 to 2021 4.0%
Smartphone Change 2019 to 2021 2.4%

 

Digital Equity Ecosystems Measurement Framework: A tool to help you assess your community digital equity resource level

The opportunity for Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding has communities wondering if they are well poised and doing the right things to maximize their opportunity to get funding. Colin Rhinesmith and Rafi Santo have come up with a tool (Digital Equity Ecosystems Measurement Framework) to help communities assess their preparedness. The tool looks at three things:

■ Coalition Health – The coalition health level speaks to the coalition’s structure and enactment: to what degree are members participating in coalition activities? Do they have strong relationships? Do they believe they can accomplish the goals they set out together? Is effective and equitable governance in place?

■ Member Strength – The member strength level speaks to the ability of coalition member organizations to carry out activities that promote community level outcomes: what issues are member organizations focused on? Where do they work, and with whom? How strong is their capacity in different areas?

■ Community Impact – Finally, the community impact level speaks to the on the ground issues that are of primary importance to the coalition: what is the nature of digital access issues in the community? Do community members have the digital skills they need to participate in society? Is the community collectively empowered in relation to the technological world?

The worker-be in me loves the worksheet-style information that includes aspects to measure and how to measure them. You can see a sample below:

There are recommendations for moving forward…

1. As coalitions move forward and aim to bring the ideas shared in this report into practice locally, there are several critical steps that we recommend: 1 Establish a collective process for determining why your coalition wants to engage in measurement, and what should be measured to achieve those ends. Questions of how and what data will be collected, how it will be analyzed and by whom, and many other important implementation issues around measurement in practice are downstream from these foundational questions. Establishing why a coalition wants to engage in measurement should serve to specify what kinds of indicators are important to collect data on, which can then help specify an overall approach to measurement. Critically, in coalitions, the process of answering these questions can be one that all stakeholders can be involved in in some way. While backbone organizations are often the natural stakeholder to lead such a process, as with other areas of governance, determining a high level measurement strategy is both more equitable and effective through the participation of members and other stakeholders. This is especially important if part of what will result from a new measurement strategy is members being asked to participate in things like surveys and coalition self-assessment activities, not to mention the creation and use of shared data collection mechanisms.

2 Articulate a coalition theory of change and associated logic model. As noted earlier in the report, if a coalition does not already have a developed theory of change and logic model, the process of developing a measurement strategy presents an important opportunity to do so. Articulating short term, medium term, and long term outcomes, as well as how specific coalition activities aim to “move the needle” on them, can provide an important localized model to guide measurement that can draw on the DEEM framework. With a logic model in hand, a coalition can then determine which areas of activity are most important to focus on within a data strategy based on the measurement uses it’s identified.

3 Develop data collection, analysis, and use plans. Having answered questions about why it wants to engage in measurement and what measurement should focus on, a coalition is then ready to begin determining how to go about measurement activities including data collection, analysis, and use. This includes matching indicators to potential data sources and measurement approaches such as tracking databases, surveys, publicly available data, etc. Plans around how these data will be analyzed, and then the contexts of data use and representation should be well envisioned as part of this stage of developing a coalition measurement strategy

4 Actively incorporate plans around data consent, privacy, harms, and security. As digital equity advocates know well, histories of harm are all too common when it comes to uses of data. A key element of a coalition measurement strategy should be a clear articulation of what data will be collected, how it will be stored securely, how it will (and will not) be used, how privacy will be protected, and how those providing data will have fully informed consent within data collection activities. Within this, questions of data de-identification, especially around data from vulnerable populations, should be paramount. 5 Engage in iterative development of measurement strategies. The process of developing and implementing a coalition measurement strategy is not a ‘one and done’ activity. As with all other work, measurement strategies require iteration in order to both improve existing approaches as well as to modify focus based on shifts in coalition activity. Creating mechanisms for reflection around a coalition data strategy can help articulate the utility and limitations of certain measurement approaches, as well as help identify new areas of need when it comes to measurement.

FCC to collect data on ACP recipients, subscriptions and offerings

The FCC reports

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted an order creating the Affordable Connectivity Program Transparency Data Collection, a statutorily mandated annual data collection describing all internet service plans subscribed to by households enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).  Congress, through the Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act, required the Commission to collect this data for all service plans subscribed to by an ACP-enrolled household.  Providers must also submit plan characteristics including speed, latency, and bundle characteristics, and a unique identifier associated with a broadband label if applicable, as well as certain aggregated plan enrollment subscriber data.

“To find out whether this program is working as Congress intended, we need to know who is participating, and how they are using the benefit,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel.  “So we’re doing just that.  The data we collect will help us know where we are, and where we need to go.  We’re also standardizing the way we collect data, and looking for other ways to paint a fuller picture of how many eligible households are participating in the ACP.  We want all eligible households to know about this important benefit for affordable internet service.”

The Order would require ACP providers to submit annually data on price, plan coverage, and plan characteristics of their broadband internet services subscribed to by ACP-enrolled households.  A Further Notice seeks comment on subscriber enrollment data, digital divide metrics, metrics related to low-income plan and connected device offerings, and on the merits and burdens associated with the collection of subscriber level information.  The Further Notice also seeks comment on whether the Commission should collect information related to the digital divide, including whether an ACP subscriber is a first-time or existing broadband subscriber or is subscribed to multiple plans.  In addition, the Further Notice seeks comment on the collecting information related to providers’ low-income broadband plan and connected device offerings.

It would be nice if there was a way to invite the household to also take a speed test. Then we’d know what they are paying for and what they are getting. It seems like with the public money being invested that both parties (provider and subscriber) could be enticed to provide as much info as requested, certainly in terms of the service.