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.

Blog Posts

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Press Releases

  • Comcast-Time Warner Cable: The Deal Is Dead

    April 24, 2015

    WASHINGTON -- Comcast abandoned its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable on Friday morning. The move followed media reports of considerable skepticism about the benefits of the merger by staff at the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, the two agencies charged with reviewing the deal.

    Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

  • FCC Takes a Stand on Behalf of Municipal Broadband

    February 26, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission ruled to preempt two state laws that prevent municipalities from creating high-speed Internet networks to connect their residents. The ruling was in response to petitions brought before the agency by municipalities in North Carolina and Tennessee.
  • Free Press Action Fund Welcomes the Community Broadband Act

    January 22, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Thursday, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced the Community Broadband Act to put an end to protectionist state laws that prohibit cities and towns from creating homegrown broadband facilities.
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  • Reclassification Is Not a Dirty Word

    On Feb. 26, 2015, the FCC voted to reclassify broadband access service under Title II of the Communications Act — marking the biggest win for the public interest in the agency’s history. Reclassification will protect free expression online — and resolve years of bad policy decisions that have threatened the Internet’s underlying architecture.
    March 26, 2015
  • Free Press Ex Parte Filing on the USTA Investment Study

    This filing debunks claims in the faulty USTA investment “study.”

    November 20, 2014
  • Free Press Petition to Deny the AT&T-DIRECTV Merger

    Free Press filed these comments on Sept. 16, 2014, noting that the deal would harm the public interest.

    September 16, 2014
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News from Around the Web

  • Cable Companies Won't Let Cord Cutters Go Without a Fight

    Huffington Post
    March 26, 2015

    Your options for how to watch TV continue to grow, but cable companies could make you pay dearly if you want to “cut the cord.”

  • The Broadband Industry Pretends to Be Worried About Your Soaring Bill in Attempt to Undermine Net Neutrality

    December 9, 2014

    On the heels of Obama's surprise support of Title II-based Net Neutrality rules last month, we noted that the broadband industry's anti-Title II talking points (primarily that it will kill network investment and sector innovation) not only were just plain wrong, they were getting more than a little stale. That's a problem for the industry given the increasingly bipartisan support of real Net Neutrality rules and the groundswell of SOPA-esque activism in support of Title II.

  • Stern Words for AT&T's Tantrum Over Broadband

    Daily News
    November 20, 2014

    If AT&T can't get its way, it'll just take its toys and go home.

    The company's chief executive, Randall Stephenson, told an investment conference last week that AT&T will stop work on expanding super-fast Internet access nationwide because of President Obama's push for more oversight of broadband networks.

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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.

  • 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.

  • Declaration of Internet Freedom

    Tired of fighting bad bills like SOPA, PIPA and CISPA? Want to stand up against those who are trying to control what we do and say online? It's time for something different.

    A group of more than 1,500 organizations, academics, startup founders and tech innovators has come together to sign a Declaration of Internet Freedom, a set of five principles that put forward a positive vision of the open Internet. Click here to add your name.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good