By California Emerging Technology Fund President and CEO Sunne Wright McPeak
As the Federal Communications Commission debates new telecom policies, it is critical to recognize that net neutrality does not guarantee affordability or accessibility for the one in four people – 80 million people in the U.S. – living without home high-speed Internet today. In some urban cores, 50% of homes do not have broadband. Affordable Internet is a 21st Century civil right in a Digital World.
The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) knows first-hand from being in the trenches that the most disadvantaged populations and impoverished neighborhoods are up against a "wall of poverty" that demands action from elected officials, regulators and policymakers at all levels.
In California, nearly 10 million people live without high-speed Internet. America and California need a strong national policy for affordable high-speed Internet service. We urge Commissioners at the FCC and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), if they are to approve corporate consolidations, to require the companies to offer quality Internet at affordable rates to all low-income households. The FCC also needs to make overhauling the national Lifeline program for broadband a top priority.