The Internet Atlas Project at the University of California, Berkeley's goal is to shine a light on long-term risks to the internet. We produce indicators of weak points and bottlenecks that threaten the internet’s stability. Our research shows that the internet is facing twin dangers; on one side, there’s the threat of total consolidation. Power over the internet has been increasingly concentrated primarily in the hands of a few, US-based organizations. On the other side, there’s fragmentation.
Racial and ethnic minority communities that lack internet access have been left behind in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine. We are researchers who study health disparities. We are concerned that even when vaccinations are offered in these communities, those at greatest risk for COVID-19 may be unable to obtain appointments without the help of family or friends. This includes racial and ethnic minority communities and older adults, the age group that is currently being vaccinated. Our research suggests that lack of internet access may be an important reason.
States and local governments may be able to mandate their own network neutrality rules. Governors in six states – HI, MT, NJ, NY, RI, and VT – have already signed executive orders enforcing net neutrality by prohibiting state agencies from doing business with internet service providers that limit customers’ online access. Four states have passed their own laws requiring internet companies to treat all online content equally: CA, OR, WA, and VT.