The FCC Needs to Make Broadband Affordable for Schools, Hospitals, and Businesses

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Media Outlet: Slate

Michael Calabrese wrote for Slate about the necessity of affordable broadband:

The Republican and Democratic party platforms may clash on most issues, but they do agree on one thing: Broadband access is critical. According to the Republican platform, America must “pav[e] the way for high-speed, next generation broadband deployment and competition.” The Democratic platform echoes this view, proclaiming: “High-speed internet connectivity is not a luxury; it is a necessity for 21st century economic success, social mobility, education, health care, and public safety.”
Like electricity, high-speed data connectivity has become vital to the production of virtually everything else in the economy. Businesses, hospitals, office buildings, schools and other institutions require significantly more bandwidth than you use at home—so they need a far fatter pipe that is always available, reliable, and secure.
Seems logical, right? But currently the prices and terms for business broadband are often unreasonable and vary widely based on the number of competing providers. But there’s a chance this could change: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has promised to reform the broken market for enterprise-grade connections to the internet this year, and Tuesday, Aug. 9, is the deadline for public comments on proposals. Just as the FCC adopted strong network neutrality rules last year, reasoning that broadband access is increasingly essential to the rest of the economy, the commission should ensure businesses and other institutions pay a competitive market price for internet access.

Author:

Michael Calabrese is director of the Wireless Future Project, which is part of New America’s Open Technology Institute.