Broadband

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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Resources

  • 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

  • The FCC Is About to Approve the AT&T-DIRECTV Deal

    Washington Post
    July 24, 2015

    Federal regulators are preparing to approve AT&T's $49 billion bid to purchase DirecTV, a mega deal that joins the country's largest satellite TV firm with the second-biggest provider of cellular service.

  • FCC Chairman Backs AT&T’s Merger with DIRECTV

    MediaPost
    July 22, 2015

    AT&T's $49 billion merger with DIRECTV appears to be headed for regulatory approval, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated on Tuesday.

  • FCC Set to Approve AT&T’s Purchase of DIRECTV

    Los Angeles Times
    July 22, 2015

    The Federal Communications Commission is poised to approve AT&T's purchase of satellite service DIRECTV, a $49-billion deal that would transform the phone giant into the nation's largest pay-television operator.

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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