Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s

The purpose of Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s is to collect, combine, and contribute to a national broadband agenda for the next decade, enlisting the voices of broadband leaders in an ongoing discussion on how public policy can close the digital divide and extend digital opportunity everywhere. Leaders at all levels of government should ensure that everyone is able to use High-Performance Broadband in the next decade by embracing the following building blocks of policy:

  • Deployment. Federal money should help build future-proof networks in places where people don’t have robust broadband choices, focusing on the deployment of networks with 100/100 Mbps symmetrical speeds that can meet future demand in the 2020s, while employing interim measures to ensure that broadband reaches all in the short-term. Government should ensure that middle-mile facilities they fund are open to any broadband provider and that affordable services are among the broadband offerings.
  • Competition. Policymakers should encourage broadband competition to help lower prices, improve services, and spur innovation. Right now, restrictive laws in 19 states are hindering communities from helping their people. The laws should be revisited, reversed, and repealed. 
  • Affordability & Adoption. Everyone in America should be able to afford a robust broadband connection and have the skills necessary to use it. Current research suggests that low-income people can only afford to pay $10-15 per month for broadband, and local governments and community institutions have demonstrated that digital-skills training is important.
  • Community Anchor Institutions. High-Performance Broadband connections empower community anchor institutions to fulfill their missions, reach their users wherever they are, and serve as launching pads for communitywide access. The federal government should expand its support to community institutions, like schools and libraries. As of 2018, 60 percent or more of community anchor institutions in the United States lacked robust and scalable connections that HighPerformance Broadband networks can provide.

[Jonathan Sallet is a Benton Senior Fellow. He works to promote broadband access and deployment, to advance competition, including through antitrust, and to preserve and protect internet openness. He is the former-Federal Communications Commission General Counsel (2013-2016), and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Litigation, Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice (2016-2017).]

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