For more in-depth discussions about the nation’s broadband challenges and proposed solutions, see our reports:
We need a national, comprehensive broadband strategy, a plan that ensures that everyone in American can use High-Performance Broadband as soon as possible. High-Performance Broadband available to everyone in America is an important ingredient for a more just America, a healthier society, and an economy that offers true opportunity for everyone. We need to inject a new sense of urgency into implementing equitable broadband policies.
Before he passed, Congressman John Lewis told us, “Access to the Internet … is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.” There are almost three times as many people without broadband in urban/metro places than in rural places, and lack of broadband adoption is greater among Black, Hispanic, and lower-income households. Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, joined by civil rights leaders, explained, “Our historic failure to close the digital divide has had a devastating effect on communities of color in both rural and urban America.”
Five overarching principles should guide a comprehensive broadband strategy:
- Digital Equity: Making affordable High-Performance Broadband available to low-income, unserved, and underserved populations—accompanied by training in digital skills that empowers users to make the most of their connections—will contribute to a more equitable society.
- Deployment: In a world in which the talents of all people matter, broadband infrastructure investment is a necessary economic strategy. There is no reason to saddle any area with second-rate broadband.
- Competition: Americans should not have to pay more merely because public policy has failed to promote competition effectively.
- Community Anchor Institutions: Using broadband to fulfill their missions, these institutions should be able to reach users wherever they are and serve as launching pads for community-wide access.
- State and Local Leadership: The best approach is to fuse federal support with more trusted state, tribal, and local leadership to ensure the promise of universal, affordable, open broadband.