Today, Public Knowledge sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ranking Member Michael Doyle (R-IL), and full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) urging Congress to take steps to close the digital divide by promoting investments in broadband deployment and competitive, affordable broadband choices for consumers.
Broadband access is a basic necessity for full participation in the 21st century economy, and all Americans would benefit from broadband access at affordable prices. This letter was also sent to members of the Communications & Technology Subcommittee ahead of today’s hearing on broadband deployment.
You may attribute the following to Phillip Berenbroick, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“There is widespread consensus that access to broadband is critical to participate in the modern economy.
“Families rely on an internet connection to work from home, apply for jobs, communicate with loved ones, access news and information, and complete homework. While a commitment to universal service has long guided our communications laws and policies, millions of families remain on the wrong side of the digital divide — unable to get online because connectivity is too expensive or unavailable.
“It is essential that public policy and public investments in infrastructure meet the nation’s needs and reflect our longstanding commitment to universal service. The challenges are twofold — bringing broadband to the places where it isn’t, and bringing competitive, affordable choices to millions of consumers for whom prices are too high.
“Federal investments in infrastructure must address the economic challenges of deployment in sparsely populated rural areas, often with challenging topography, as well as low-income urban neighborhoods. There are no silver bullet solutions, so Congress, the Administration, the FCC, and state and local officials should pursue an ‘all of the above’ strategy that changes the economics of investment in rural and low-income areas, removes barriers to innovative business models, and streamlines fiber deployments. These adjustments would be an important step toward bringing competitive and affordable broadband choices to all consumers.”
You may view this letter here.
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