Today, President Obama announced support for municipal broadband initiatives in order to advance our internet infrastructure from a podium in Cedar Falls, Iowa — home of the fastest broadband in the United States. Public Knowledge commends President Obama for acknowledging high-speed broadband as a vital community resource, one that enables small towns across America to offer competitive education, healthcare and business opportunities to their residents.
The following may be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“We thank President Obama for joining the growing movement of Americans who are standing up for the right of local communities to bring high-speed broadband to their residents, no matter how small their community is. For years, many towns have pleaded for higher-speed internet connections but incumbent ISPs have been unable or unwilling to upgrade their services.
“Without high-speed internet, communities cannot attract the same businesses and jobs as those with high-speed access can. It is unusual that state lawmakers would prohibit localities from creating economic development projects that bring high-speed internet to communities that don't have it. However, many of these state-level prohibitions were crafted to satisfy the demands of the big cable and telecommunications companies that have monopoly style control as the only provider in town. Public Knowledge has long supported the right of communities to invest in their own infrastructure, and high-speed broadband is a critical component of 21st century infrastructure.
“We are also glad to see the President providing federal support for these efforts through new grants and workshops for localities that want to develop broadband economic development projects the right way. There are already great examples of successful projects that provide different routes to the same goal. Not every small town will fund, build, and maintain their own network, but local officials need to know they have options to give their citizens the infrastructure to compete.”
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