Most Americans do not have much of a choice in Internet service providers, even in big cities. But for a lucky few, they have not only a robust gigabit connection but also a choice of many providers. This is most common in an arrangement called “open access.” Some 30 communities spread across the United States have embraced this model — where the local government builds a fiber-optic infrastructure and acts as a wholesaler, allowing independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer the actual service to households and businesses.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai would have you believe that the network neutrality repeal was of no consequence — the Internet wasn’t destroyed, cute pictures of cats and dogs are still in abundance, Google and Netflix are alive and well. But even in the short 6 months since the Dec 14, 2017 repeal of the net neutrality rules became effective, we have seen how consumers and competitors lose when broadband providers are given license to self-regulate and the FCC discards its responsibility to oversee the market.
Road Map to Connecting the Under-connected: Towns and cities at core of digital inclusion policies and partnerships
In the hopes of increasing digital equity, here are some observations and suggestions for framing, enacting and collectively furthering digital inclusion policy. 1) Terminology helps frame policy. 2) Anchor policy in comprehensive frameworks. 3) Government has a role as a convener & participant, but not a singular responsibility. 4) Digital inclusion planning and policy should be intentional, and also nurtured. 5) Build community capacity and work with trusted ambassadors.
On Sept 26, the Federal Communications Commission may try to dismantle the balanced system [of local control], handing taxpayer-owned assets over to multi-billion dollar telecommunications companies, and encouraging them to run wild on our public rights of way. There are several reasons this move would be deeply damaging for towns and cities, big and small:
Solid is an open-source project to restore the power and agency of individuals on the web. Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value. As we’ve all discovered, this hasn’t been in our best interests. Solid is how we evolve the web in order to restore balance — by giving every one of us complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way. Solid is a platform, built using the existing web.
Network neutrality activists are having a field day with the recent report that Verizon “throttled” the mobile data usage of the Santa Clara County Fire Prevention District (FPD). What really happened wasn’t a net neutrality issue: The FPD simply chose a data plan for their mobile command and control unit that was manifestly inappropriate for their needs. The FPD needed a lot of high-speed 4G mobile data — up to 300 GB/month when the device was deployed.
In 2016, 15.4 percent or 48.9 million people lived in low-adoption neighborhoods, down from almost one-fifth in 2015. However, when looking at the share of folks living in low adoption neighborhoods by rurality, interesting dynamics surface. In 2016, more than half or 55 percent of those living in low-adoption neighborhoods were rural folks.
[Roberto Gallardo is Assistant Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development and a Purdue Extension Community & Regional Economics Specialist]