The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

Free Press: Berkman Study Shows Need for Better Broadband Policies

Study for FCC Shows U.S. Failures and Recommends Open Access Policies for the National Broadband Plan


A new study by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society examines broadband systems and practices throughout the world and finds that the United States is only "a middle-of-the-pack performer." The report shows that open access policies abandoned by the United States have been a successful catalyst in other leading nations for developing more competitive broadband markets. The study was commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission for use in developing the national broadband plan.

In the study, open access policies were shown to promote greater deployment, lower prices, and better broadband capacity and speeds. The FCC is now seeking public comment on the study to evaluate the findings and the amount of weight the agency should give them in crafting broadband policy.

Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, made the following statement:

"We commend the FCC and the Berkman Center for producing this thorough analysis of the U.S. broadband market. This is a devastating critique of U.S. policy failures and a blueprint for what must be done to build an effective national broadband plan. The study demonstrates the FCC's commitment to a data-driven process that will help to lay a foundation for sound broadband policy. This is the most comprehensive presentation of international broadband data available today, and it should put to rest any doubts that the United States is falling far behind the rest of the developed world in broadband performance.

"For years, we have been urging the FCC to retrace its steps -- to look at the failed policies that have led to the mediocre U.S. broadband market and to examine other successful international models for comparison. This study is authoritative proof that U.S. broadband policy has major challenges that will only be overcome by aggressive action.

"Furthermore, this study makes clear that Net Neutrality is a very moderate proposal compared to other policy prescriptions that have boosted competition in broadband markets abroad. The FCC should consider all of these policy options. In the short term, Net Neutrality is the minimum needed to protect competition in speech and commerce on the Internet and to help put our faltering policy back on track."

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

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