Access to high-speed Internet service — also known as broadband — is a basic public necessity, just like water or electricity.

Yet despite its importance, broadband access in the United States is far from universal. Millions of Americans still stand on the wrong side of the "digital divide," unable to tap into the political, economic and social resources of the Internet.

A 2013 survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that just 70 percent of Americans age 18 and up have high-speed Internet access at home. Pew noted that age, education and household income are the strongest predictors for home broadband adoption.

And Americans who do have broadband connections pay more and get less than residents of most other developed nations. Survey after survey shows U.S. broadband quality, speed and adoption rates falling dangerously behind that of countries in Asia and Europe.

This is unacceptable in our digital age, when getting all Americans connected to an open, fast and affordable Internet should be a national priority.

Broken policies in Washington have made it easier for phone and cable companies to charge more and more for high-speed Internet access — and to refuse to connect underserved communities. Meanwhile, several state legislatures, bowing to pressure from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and their friends, have outlawed community-owned networks that would offer affordable, world-class Internet to hundreds of thousands of people. The result? More people are stuck with high prices, limited choices and slow — or nonexistent — Internet service.

Whether Americans are able to reap the benefits of broadband — and whether they enjoy a choice of providers, speeds and prices — depends largely on policy decisions made in Washington.

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Press Releases

  • More Than 50 Public Interest Groups Call on Washington to Reject 'Unthinkable' Comcast Merger

    April 8, 2014

    WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Comcast filed documents at the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to approve its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. If the deal is approved, Comcast will become the dominant cable company for two-thirds of the country and it will control over half of the nation’s next-generation broadband customers.

  • Free Press: Comcast-Netflix Deal Shows How ISPs Can Abuse Their Market Power

    February 24, 2014
    On Sunday, Netflix reached an interconnection agreement with Comcast to ensure its videos would be streamed directly to consumers. The deal ends the standoff that had led to poor performance of Netflix offerings to Comcast customers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal involved Netflix paying Comcast to deliver traffic onto its network.
  • Free Press: Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Would Be a Disaster for Consumers

    February 12, 2014
    WASHINGTON — According to press reports late Wednesday night, Comcast is preparing to announce a $44 billion deal to buy Time Warner Cable. The proposed takeover would unite the nation's largest cable TV and Internet service provider with the second-largest cable company. The combined companies would offer service to two-thirds of U.S. homes. The deal would have to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department.
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  • Letter from More Than 50 Groups Opposing the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

    More than 50 public interest groups wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice opposing the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

    April 7, 2014
  • Join the Fight to Stop the Merger

    Here are all the down-and-dirty facts — plus lots of useful resources — on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.
    March 19, 2014
  • Implementing Broadband Policy After Verizon vs. FCC

    In January 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Verizon v. FCC. The D.C. Circuit concluded that the FCC does not have the authority to apply anti-blocking and nondiscrimination provisions to broadband providers under the current regulatory framework governing broadband. Attached is a brief overview of the relevant history, recent developments, and the FCC’s options going forward.

    March 17, 2014
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News from Around the Web

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  • Cable

    Two decades ago, something unusual happened.

    Consumers were irate about their cable bills, which were increasing at nearly three times the rate of inflation. And Congress actually did something — adopting in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion the 1992 Cable Act. The law resulted in lower cable bills, saving consumers $3 billion in just over a year’s time.

  • Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

    On Feb. 13, Comcast announced its bid to buy its chief rival, Time Warner Cable. If approved, this deal would create a television and Internet colossus like no other.

    Comcast is the country’s #1 cable and Internet company and Time Warner Cable is #2. They both regularly rank at the bottom of the barrel in customer-service surveys. Put them together and you get one subpar giant offering service to two-thirds of U.S. homes.

  • Cybersecurity

    Our right to private communications is a cornerstone of American democracy. But with heightened awareness in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, technological advances have continued allowing the government to expand its reach into our private lives via electronic surveillance and data-mining programs. New laws and policies introduced in the last decade have eroded our civil liberties online.

    Congress has a poor track record when it comes to cybersecurity legislation. The bills introduced so far give the government way too much power to intrude on our privacy online.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good