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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Press Releases

  • Free Press Action Fund Urges Congress to Reject the AT&T-DirecTV Merger

    June 24, 2014
    WASHINGTON -- In testimony before the Senate on Tuesday, Free Press Action Fund Policy Director Matt Wood will speak out against AT&T’s bid for DirecTV, calling out the phone giant’s failure to deliver on promises to provide affordable broadband to more customers and regions.
  • AT&T-DirecTV Merger Would Hurt U.S. Consumers, Diminish Competition

    May 18, 2014
    WASHINGTON — On Sunday, several reports suggested that AT&T had reached an agreement to buy top U.S. satellite-TV operator DirecTV for nearly $50 billion. If approved, the deal would be the latest in a string of media mega-mergers in an industry with a dwindling number of competitors.
  • 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.

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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.

  • 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