Yesterday, Public Knowledge, joined by the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, filed an amici curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is reviewing a New York law to make broadband internet more affordable. New York’s Affordable Broadband Act would require internet service providers (ISPs) to sell a $15-per-month broadband plan to low-income households.
A group of ISP trade associations oppose the law, and sued New York’s Attorney General to prevent it from going into effect. A previous ruling by the District Court prevented New York from enforcing the Affordable Broadband Act, but the Court of the Appeals could reverse that decision.
The brief filed yesterday supports New York’s position and explains how improving affordability–even just for some people–in fact helps everyone. The brief addresses how broadband access supports a strong economy, better public health outcomes, and improves educational opportunity, and also reviews recent empirical research into broadband affordability conducted by the Benton Institute.
The following can be attributed to Nicholas Garcia, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“Broadband is not a luxury item: It is essential. During the pandemic we saw that internet access was a lifeline to family and friends, but also to work, healthcare, and school. Broadband is going to continue to be critically important and every step to improve affordability will help everyone. The value of the internet is that as more people get online, our digital community grows, and all internet users–including businesses, governments, and regular people–benefit from the ability to reach more people.
“This is an important case, and not just because of how important broadband is, but also because the ISPs want to deny states the ability to pass laws that make broadband more affordable and accessible, like the Affordable Broadband Act. Not only is this bad policy, but the law is clear that the states have the right to do this.”
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