Washington seems poised, yet again, to try to address broadband infrastructure by throwing billions of dollars at it to be managed at the national level, and already there is a chorus of voices demanding that access to broadband be “free.” All this will ensure the effort fails. What’s needed is a recognition that the only approach that can succeed is a novel combination of public-private partnerships at the local level. The important recognition is that cities are not monolithic. Broadband is a neighborhood issue, driven by different socioeconomic factors that must be addressed.
"Billions for broadband" are about to pour out of Washington. That sounds good, but it is not aligned with the reality faced by many individual states, counties and towns. In rural – as well as some poor urban – areas, the "business model" for private ISPs “prevents” them from offering service. That is to say, they can’t make the minimum profit margins that they require. And they're right. They can't. For these areas (like mine in Maine, one of America's most rural, least wealthy and oldest-in-average-age states), the result is no choice of ISP.
While making broadband available is an obvious first step to closing the digital divide, getting people to use it as a way of life takes more than bringing it to their doorsteps. Over the coming weeks and months, Congress, industry and stakeholders must work together to formulate a multi-pronged approach that not only tackles broadband availability and affordability, but also the accessibility component of the digital divide. The National Urban League’s Lewis Latimer Plan sh
The House of Representatives passed the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act, largely along party lines, to revive the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to return money to constituents harmed by companies found to engage in deceptive practices. The bill passed with widespread support from Democrats, yet Republicans opposed to the bill argued on the floor that the legislation was incomplete at the time of the vote. The passage of the bill comes after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in early 2021 that the FTC did not have authority under a provision known as Section 13(b) to obta