For Immediate Release
FCC Must Focus on Broadband Adoption and Affordability in Addition to Speed and Deployment
The spiraling cost of access is a principal barrier to adoption for million of struggling Americans
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission reported that broadband Internet access services are not being deployed to all Americans in a timely and reasonable fashion. The determination, required of the agency under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, enables the FCC to “take immediate action” to speed deployment.
According to the report, about 34 million Americans have no access to high-speed fixed broadband. This lack of availability is felt most acutely in rural areas, where 39 percent of the residents lack such access. As a result, U.S. broadband access continues to lag behind that of other developed nations, ranking 16th out of 34 countries, according to the FCC.
Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:
“The FCC’s report today provides another reminder that too many Americans have no option for high-speed, modern broadband. This lack of availability is indeed an issue, especially in rural areas and on tribal lands.
“As Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and others have recognized, the FCC must also keep an eye on adoption, and especially the cost of broadband. Recent reports from the Pew Research Center, the Brookings Institution and the Benton Foundation indicate that the high price of Internet access is the main barrier to getting everyone online. The Pew report even shows that broadband adoption for adults has started to decline as more people say they simply can’t afford spiraling costs.
“The price of high-speed access puts a serious dent in the pocketbooks of hundreds of millions of Americans. This is a problem for everyone, but it’s especially true for people in historically marginalized communities and demographic groups: those who live in rural areas, communities of color, older Americans, and low-income populations across the board.
“And we now know that fixed broadband prices are so high that millions of struggling families aren’t connecting at all. To close this unacceptable digital divide, the FCC needs to factor in the rising costs of going online and take action to make high-speed Internet access more affordable in the United States.”
Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net