Why Broadband Matters


[Commentary] The Senate Commerce Committee meets September 16 to hear testimony on the consumer benefits of broadband service. The question of the day is Why Broadband Matters? I could offer a long list of reasons why broadband matters, but the list of reasons is too long to enumerate here because it is over 305 million names long. Broadband matters for every American. Luckily, the Senate's hearing focuses on people rather than pipes. Because even as we come to recognize that broadband networks are the essential communications medium of the 21st century, those who could benefit the most from this economically empowering technology are also those most likely to be left without access because of where they live or how much money they make. The Senate hearing will undoubtedly reach this answer: universal, affordable broadband access is as important to the advancement of the American ideal of equal opportunity in the 21st century as universal access to education and universal phone service was in the last. As broadband becomes more critical for everything from jobs, to education and even participation in modern campaigns - millions do not have access to affordable high-speed broadband - or any broadband choices at all. We have made great progress in extending broadband's reach, but, unfortunately, America faces a lingering broadband gap that is unlikely to be bridged by market forces alone. Now is the time for government leadership -- for making broadband as universal as telephone service is today and bringing its benefits to all Americans as soon as possible.

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glaudeman on September 15, 2008 - 2:20pm.

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