2013 February

New Report: Is the Broadband Stimulus Working?

On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce  Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing entitled “Is the Broadband Stimulus Working?”

The hearing notice included a staff report on the broadband stimulus program and questioned whether “taxpayers are getting their money’s worth four years after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) allocated $7 billion for broadband grants and loans.” The report states while there may be some good coming from these stimulus programs, “the question is whether they have failed to minimize costs, maximize benefits, and generate adequate return on investment, especially in the current fiscal climate.”

Update: Video clip from the hearing

“The Market Public Library is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday in a single wide trailer with one Internet connection. Do you really think that’s going to build out to where they have the need for a couple hundred Internet connection router in a community of 1500?… A 5500 square foot library in a town of 1500 needs a $20,000 router?” 

Of note from the subcommittee staff report:

  • Only 60 percent of the broadband funds have been put to use so far even though all $7 billion was awarded by September 30, 2010.

  • Approximately $611 million of the funding covering 42 projects has been revoked, relinquished, or suspended.

  • Of the 553 projects funded, only 58 are finished or in the finishing stages, even though all were originally supposed to be completed by September 30, 2013.

  • Many carriers have complained that awardees have used BTOP and BIP grants and loans to overbuild existing systems rather than extend service to unserved areas.

The report highlights why overbuilding is problematic, including that it provides “seconds or thirds” in terms of broadband access to some customers while others have yet to get “firsts,” an inequitable and inefficient use of taxpayer money in a time of scarce federal dollars.  Overbuilding also unfairly subjects to government-subsidized competition businesses that have invested their own funds. This potentially divides the customer base from which the company can recover costs, jeopardizing its business and the jobs it created.

The report also makes the point that private investment is likely the source of the massive broadband growth (as highlighted below) since the stimulus money is only recently entering the pipeline. Private-sector wired and wireless broadband providers have invested an average of $65 billion a year between 2002 and 2011, as compared to the one-time investment of $7 billion in public funding nationwide.  Moreover, “parties that invest their own money are understandably more likely to scrutinize any economic analysis or strategic plan, since they bear the risk; conversely, the broadband stimulus projects using taxpayer dollars have attracted numerous allegations of waste and overbuilding.”

  • 95 percent of the population already had access to fixed broadband service by 2010, two-thirds of households subscribed, and the number of people with broadband at home had grown from 8 million to 200 million in the prior decade. That does not even count wireless service.

  • As of mid-2012, wired broadband access had ticked up to 96 percent of the population. By the end of 2011, subscribership had reached 71 percent of households and the number of people with broadband at home had climbed to 220 million subscribers.

Texas Cable Industry Celebrates Black History Month – February 2015

Black History Month 2015

Texas Cable Association cable company members and cable programmers are proud to observe Black History Month with special broadcasts that commemorate important events and individuals in our country’s African American history.

Black History Month was officially designated in 1976, although week-long celebration had been held since 1920.  Black History Month is held in February because it includes the birthdates of President Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and former slave. The two men’s actions profoundly impacted the lives and history of black Americans.

Below you will find some of the special Black History Month programming for February (All times CST. Programs are subject to change, check local listings).


106 & PARK – Hosted by Bow Wow and Keshia Chanté, BET’s flagship show celebrates Black History Month with four specially themed weeks that put that spotlight on defining moments and events in Black History (Week One); Black Love (Week Two); Achievements in Sports (Week Three) concluding with the Fine Arts (Week Four). Weekdays, 5 p.m.

BET Honors – Celebrating its seventh year with new host Wayne Brady, BET Honors celebrates and recognizes the gifts and contributions of six African American exceptional leaders. Each year this powerful and inspirational event aims the spotlight on the achievements of distinguished leaders in the fields of music, literature, entertainment, media, service and education. Premieres Feb. 24, 8 p.m.

BET Takes Hollywood – Directly following BET Honors, host and veteran celebrity journalist Shaun Robinson of Access Hollywood will sit down with this year’s top African American nominees along with past Oscar winners to candidly discuss their amazing race to the Academy Awards. Plus, she’ll take a look back at the Oscar’s best-dressed stars and look into the future to predict which stars will impress the Academy next year in the network’s third annual Oscar special. Premieres Feb. 24, 10 a.m.

Say It Loud – This year’s Black History Month on-air campaign “Say It Loud” aims to illustrate the connection between Black History Month trailblazers and other famous Americans in the fields of the arts, sciences, athletics, politics and entertainment. Curated by the award-winning actor Michael K Williams, the stories of these African-American icons, told under this unique perspective, will highlight how “Black History is American History.” The on-air campaign kicks-off Feb 1.

ICONN MANN 28 Men Of Change – Two-minute vignettes airing on BET and Centric will feature the stories of contemporary African-American men who have served as trailblazers in the fields of entertainment, business, art, law, finance, medicine, science, politics, education and professional sports. Each spot will feature original videos, photographs and editorial features on these inspirational figures, providing a personal and in-depth interview detailing how they have combined their passion with their purpose.

BET Online

BET Digital – Throughout the month of February, BET.com/BHM will feature daily facts about iconic events and people titled “This Day in Black History,” a series of interactive timelines, news articles, flipbooks, games and quizzes.


Bio: Tina TurnerFeb. 5, 7 a.m.

Bio: BeyoncéFeb. 5, 8 a.m.

Bio: Will SmithFeb. 15, 7 a.m.

Bio: Bill CosbyFeb. 17, 7 a.m.

Bio: Morgan FreemanFeb. 17, 8 a.m.

Bio: Stevie WonderFeb. 20, 7 a.m.

Bio: Jackson 5Feb. 20, 8 a.m.

Bio: Aretha FranklinFeb. 26, 7 a.m.

Bio: Whitney HoustonFeb. 26, 8 a.m.

BIO Online

American Freedom Stories: Alabama – Many of the pivotal moments of the modern Civil Rights Movement in America took place in Alabama. This moving all-new video series uses first person footage from Civil Rights Movement participants from various groundbreaking events. http://www.biography.com/black-history-civil-rights-videos.


Accidental Friendship – Yvonne Caldwell blames the world for the fact that she’s forced to live on the street with nothing but her shopping cart of junk and two beloved dogs. Police officer Tami Baumann has been unwilling to risk loving anyone since her father abandoned her when she was a little girl. Drawn together by Yvonne’s devotion to her dogs, Tami becomes her unlikely guardian and friend; she eventually gets her off the streets and into a home of her own. Through it all, Yvonne helps Tami learn to love again and trust with her heart. Feb. 4, 4 p.m., and Feb. 5, 8 a.m.

Relative Stranger – After a six-year absence from his wife, children and other family members, whom he abandoned, a former football player returns home to collect an inheritance but instead is forced to confront his failures and find a way to make amends with his family and his life. Can a family hurt by a man who once was their hero forgive him? Can he forgive himself, or will he continue to run from his past? Difficult truths must be faced and forgiven in this engaging family drama. Starring Cecily Tyson. Feb. 8, 8 p.m.


The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn – Small-town farmer Noah Dearborn lives an uncomplicated existence until shady developer Christian Nelson tries to usurp his family’s land. Nelson will do anything to take Noah’s property, including hiring a psychiatrist to have him declared insane. But Nelson doesn’t anticipate Noah forming an unbreakable bond with the doctor, which proves stronger than anything the land baron can dish out. Starring Sidney Poitier, Dianne Wiest and Mary-Louise Parker. Feb. 8, midnight.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – The Watson family’s oldest son Byron is heading down the wrong road, so his parents decide to take the family back to their home town of Birmingham, Ala., hoping that exposure to his tough grandmother might help straighten Byron out. Entering the south in the midst of the civil rights movement, the Watson children find themselves the victims of racism. They also witness the courage of those fighting to change the system, as well as the tragic consequences of discrimination. Feb. 11, 4 p.m., and Feb. 12, noon.

Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Firelight – Cuba Gooding Jr. plays “D.J.,” a counselor at a women’s correctional center who dedicates his professional life to helping young people reclaim their own self-respect through selfless service to others. D.J. encourages the women to join an elite team that fights forest fires and assists civilian victims of natural disasters. As brave volunteers, the young team members receive a second chance in life. Feb. 17, 8 p.m.


42 – The inspiring film follows a courageous Jackie Robinson as he breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and helps change the country. Feb. 8, 7 p.m.

Happy Birthday To A Beautiful Woman – This documentary featuring a unique and touching portrait of a Brooklyn artist’s mother and muse. Feb. 24, 8 p.m.


The Gabby Douglas Story – The inspiring true story of the international gymnastics phenomenon who overcame overwhelming odds to become the first African American ever to be named Individual All-Around Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympic Games.  Premieres Feb. 1, 7 p.m.

To celebrate the premiere of The Gabby Douglas Story, Lifetime is launching a contest and inviting schools across the country to take the Gabby Douglas Raise the Bar Pledge.  Schools may enter for a chance to win $10,000 by encouraging their students to submit pledges to raise the bar in their own lives.  For the official rules, visit www.raisethebarpledge.com. 

The Trip to Bountiful – A television adaptation of American playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote’s Tony nominated play. Set during the final years of the Jim Crow South, the film follows one woman’s quest to reconnect with her past in order to ensure her family’s future. Premieres Feb. 22, 7 p.m.


First to Fight: Black Tankers of WWII – The 761st Tank Battalion made history as the first all black tank unit to see combat. Through the stories of a select group of surviving veterans, First to Fight examines the history of the battalion – how they came to be; the racism they faced; their battles to be allowed to fight; and courageous service in the European Theater. The program also examines the larger issue of how the U.S. military has evolved from a segregated to an integrated institution. Feb. 3, 5 a.m.

Honor Deferred – At the end of World War II, the Medal of Honor – the military’s highest award – had been bestowed on 432 soldiers. But not one was given to any of the more than one million African-Americans who served in that war. It took an internal Army investigation, not launched until 1994, to find out why. More than a half century after the end of World War II, in 1997, seven African-Americans were finally awarded the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony. This is the moving true story of these brave men. Feb. 6, 6 a.m.

Double Victory – Spotlighting America’s first all black aerial unit, the Tuskegee Airmen, who broke racial barriers and challenged stereotypes by serving their country in World War II. While the fighters battled Nazi jets over Berlin, the pilots back home had to take on the U.S. military itself – fighting against the blatant racism of their white commanding officers. Together, the Tuskegee Airmen achieved a “double victory” against fascism abroad and racism at home. Feb. 10 and 17 (2 parts), 5 a.m.

USS Constellation: Battling For Freedom – As the United States sought to close a dark chapter in its history, it relied on a small, intrepid fleet and its splendid flagship, the USS Constellation to bring an end to the evil trade in human lives. Centered on the USS Constellation’s pursuit of the slaveship Cora, the documentary examines slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. Feb. 13, 7 a.m.

Dogfights: Tuskegee Airmen – The story and battles of a group of African American pilots who overcame racist opposition on their own side to become some of the finest fighter pilots of World War II. Feb. 24, 5 a.m.

King – Forty years after Martin Luther King’s assassination, newsman Tom Brokaw takes viewers through the extraordinary life and times of America’s civil rights visionary. The show goes beyond the legend to portray the man, the questions, the myths and, most importantly, the relevance of Dr. King’s message in today’s world.  Feb. 27, 7 a.m.


Modern Marvels: The Alcan Highway – The history of the Alaska-Canadian (Alcan) Highway is recalled. The 1,522-mile roadway was built in 1942, in only eight months, by American soldiers Wednesday. Feb. 12, 7 a.m.

Modern Marvels: George Washington Carver Tech – An in-depth look into some of the developments brought about by George Washington Carver’s pioneering work. Feb. 12, 8 a.m.

Stories from the Road to Freedom – This two-hour special gives a fresh perspective of the African-American movement in America, from Emancipation to the Civil Rights era. The special uses first-hand accounts, rare audio recordings, never-before-seen archival footage and home movies to chronicle African-American life as lived by regular people, in their own words, through 150 years of social upheaval. Feb. 16, 9 a.m.

Honor Deferred – At the end of World War II, the Medal of Honor – the military’s highest award – had been bestowed on 432 soldiers. But not one was given to any of the more than one million African-Americans who served in that war. It took an internal Army investigation, not launched until 1994, to find out why. More than a half century after the end of World War II, in 1997, seven African-Americans were finally awarded the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony. This is the moving true story of these brave men. Feb. 23, 7 a.m.

Miracle Rising: South Africa – This is the epic legacy of South Africa’s political transformation that culminated in the first free and fair elections in April 1994. Narrated through personal and intimate accounts from world leaders, politicians, celebrities and journalists, this thought-provoking documentary reflects on South Africa’s very own “Miracle” – the inspiring story of a journey from apartheid to democracy. Feb. 23, 9 a.m.

Our Generation: Martin Luther King Assassination – The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 is recalled. Feb. 23, 11 a.m.

Double Victory – Spotlighting America’s first all black aerial unit, the Tuskegee Airmen, who broke racial barriers and challenged stereotypes by serving their country in World War II. While the fighters battled Nazi jets over Berlin, the pilots back home had to take on the U.S. military itself – fighting against the blatant racism of their white commanding officers. Together, the Tuskegee Airmen achieved a “double victory” against fascism abroad and racism at home. Feb. 23, 11:30 a.m.

Investigation Discovery

The Injustice Files: Sundown Towns — Keith Beauchamp heads out on a cross-country road trip to investigate Sundown Towns; Historically all-white towns where African-Americans were not allowed to live in, or even set foot in after dark. Keith is determined to reveal that such towns and their exclusionary practices still exist today. Feb. 24, 7 p.m.


American Promise – The powerful coming-of-age documentary from POV that follows the journey of two young African-American males from kindergarten through high school graduation as they attend a prestigious Manhattan private school. Confronting challenges from typical childhood growing pains to cultural identification within a predominantly white environment, the young men and their parents push toward success and discover their own individuality in the process. The documentary won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Feb. 3, 9 p.m.

American Masters: “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth” – Most famous for her seminal novel “The Color Purple,” writer/activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday. Born Feb. 9, 1944, into a family of sharecroppers in rural Georgia, she came of age during the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th-century America. Her mother, poverty and participation in the Civil Rights Movement were the formative influences on her consciousness, becoming the inherent themes in her writing. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues. Her dramatic life is told with poetry and lyricism, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire and Walker herself. Feb. 7, 8 p.m.

Independent Lens: “Spies of Mississippi” – View the story of a secret spy agency formed during the 1950s and 60s by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy. Over a decade, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission employed a network of investigators and informants, including African Americans, to help infiltrate the NAACP, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). They were granted broad powers to investigate private citizens and organizations, keep secret files, make arrests and compel testimony. The program tracks the commission’s hidden role in important chapters of the Civil Rights Movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the trial of Medgar Evers and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964. Feb. 10, 9 p.m.

Jazz And The Philharmonic – A unique, generational and wholly American concert experience that highlights two of the greatest musical art forms the world has ever seen, classical and jazz. With performances by artists such as Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Terence Blanchard and Elizabeth Joy Roe, this special emphasizes the works of legendary past composers such as Bach and Mozart with these contemporary artists. Songs are performed with the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and National Young Arts Foundation alumni. Feb. 28, 8 p.m.

PBS Online

Behind the Lens – This original blog series hosted on PBS.org/bcc is a digital partnership of the PBS Black Culture Connection (BCC) and the Because of Them, We Can (TM) campaign. In the series, PBS will go behind the camera of cultural architect and campaign photographer Eunique Jones Gibson, and her powerful images, to tell the rich story and history of African American icons through the eyes of our nation’s youth. During the month of February, the BCC will feature images from the Because of Them, We Can (TM) campaign including portraits of children inspired by Harriet Tubman, James Brown, Muhammad Ali and the Freedom Riders, along with a blog post by the photographer giving details of the subject, the shoot and the child/children who are pictured. “Behind the Lens” will be hosted on both the PBS Black Culture Connection and on www.BecauseofThemWeCan.com.

PBS Black Culture Connection (BCC) – The PBS Black Culture Connection features video from films, award-winning documentaries and popular series like American Experience and Frontline, links the diverse national content found on PBS with local programs, interviews and discussions from PBS member stations and from around the web. The following is a sample of the more than 30 programs available for online streaming on the BCC (PBS.org/bcc) in February:

  • The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  • The March
  • Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
  • Independent Lens – Daisy Bates, Black Power Mixtape, Soul Food Junkies
  • Memories of the March
  • Bill T. Jones: A Good Man (American Masters)
  • Cab Calloway: Sketches (American Masters)
  • Dreams of Obama (Frontline)
  • Endgame: AIDS in Black America (Frontline)
  • Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  • Freedom Riders (American Experience)
  • Interrupters (Frontline)
  • Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A-Comin’ (American Masters)
  • Jesse Owens (American Experience)
  • “Roots” Special on Miniseries (Pioneers of TV)
  • Not in Our Town: Class Actions
  • Slavery by Another Name
  • Too Important to Fail (Tavis Smiley)
  • Underground Railroad: The William Still Story
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll (American Masters)
  • James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (American Masters)
  • POV – Black Male Achievement documentary special series: Teaching Fatherhood, The Jazz Ticket, The Algebra Ceiling


Breath Of Freedom – This new two-hour documentary, narrated by Academy-Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr., is the remarkable story of how World War II and its aftermath played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement. African Americans fought in World War II for democracy in a segregated army and marched as conquerors into a country in ruins. Finding a “breath of freedom” in post-World War II Germany, African-American soldiers experienced for the first time what it felt like to be treated as equals—and returned home determined to change their country. Among those interviewed are former Secretary of State General Colin Powell and Congressman John Lewis. Feb. 17, 7 p.m.

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