ZOOM press conference still

A new federal program will provide low-income residents with a monthly subsidy to help pay for internet service.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide a monthly subsidy of up to $50 to eligible residents to pay for internet services, and up to $75 for households on Native American territories.

How do your store your data? Hard drives? The cloud? A local inventor says a device he created is indestructible and will make your data available in perpetuity. It’s called Totenpass, and it’s constructed from solid gold. Inventor Bruce Ha says not only can the device withstand fire and other natural elements, it also eliminates future dependence on the internet or the cloud when it comes to saving precious digital files. Ha has concerns about who owns content when it’s uploaded to the cloud or to sites like Facebook or Twitter. How can you protect your own information?

This hour, we discuss data storage and ownership with our guests:

  • Bruce Ha, inventor, entrepreneur, creator of Totenpass, and founder and CEO of Stamper Technology, Inc.
  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice focuses on the intersection of social media and the law


Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to mandate internet service providers in New York to offer high-speed internet to low-income consumers at $15 per month, and is seeking to create a fund for families that can’t afford it at that rate.

Cuomo, delivering the second part of his State of the State address Tuesday, said cost remains a significant barrier to high-speed internet, despite increased access to the service.


Spectrum says it has doubled the starting download speed of its internet product from 100 to 200 Mbps in 17 markets across the U.S.

That includes Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Buffalo and Elmira in New York state.

Spectrum says the faster 200 Mbps speeds are available now to new Spectrum internet customers and the company will automatically increase speeds for current residential customers with new internet packages in those markets during the first quarter of 2021.

Many schools are deciding to keep students online – some exclusively, others for part of the fall. The New York Times argues that consistent internet access is now a civil right, and many students will be denied quality education based on their household’s income or where they live. And now, Charter Communications is asking the government for the right to impose data caps and charge families more for using their services.

Our guests discuss the impact of such a move, along with ways to handle internet access during the ongoing crisis:

When schools closed in March and teachers and students were pushed to online learning settings, the transition proved difficult for students who lack internet access and technology. The digital divide continues to be a concern, and the team at ROC the Future has analyzed where the gaps are and the impact they're having on students.

The Rochester Area Community Foundation has created a special funding opportunity -- the COVID Education Fund -- for school districts and other educational organizations in the region to support the purchase of technology and internet access for students who don't have it.

This hour, we discuss the digital divide and how it's affecting local students. Our guests:

*This hour was interrupted by NPR's coverage of a White House press conference, which led to an abbreviated discussion.

We look at the digital divide -- a serious problem on any day in America, and especially so during a pandemic. But what can be done?

County legislators are looking at ways to bring more connectivity to everyone. They're looking at what it would take to do a municipal internet network. It's not simple, but it's important, and some lawmakers have come to look at the problem as a civil rights issue.

Our guests are Monroe County legislators:

We examine the arguments in the net neutrality debate. Are we headed for a pay-as-you-go internet? Will this greatly impact our ability to get online? Who wins, and who loses? We discuss this with Remy DeCausemaker, adjunct professor at RIT's Golisano College of Computing and Information Science, and Sarah Morris, senior policy council at the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute.