Lawmakers on both sides bemoaned the lack of fast internet service in much of the country. The FCC has also been criticized for the maps it uses to describe the prevalence of broadband service, which critics say often overestimate its availability in the real world.
The problem: Internet access is a long-standing problem that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic as many families had to rely on home internet service far more than they did in the past with the forced passage virtual education or distance work.
He laid bare just how poor – or nonexistent – adequate broadband service is in much of the country, in rural and urban areas and in places in between. For others, the problem is getting access to the broadband they can afford.
What is happening: Rosenworcel said this is something the FCC tried to resolve with the $ 3.2 billion congressional subsidy program last year that offers up to $ 50 per month to help eligible households. to buy broadband service. She said about 5.5 million households are now benefiting from the temporary program.
“All of this shows that the demand for a broadband accessibility program is real,” she said.
Rosenworcel said there was also a need to fight the “digital red line,” or the practice of ISPs investing more money in richer consumers or more profitable markets while providing a less service to low-income consumers. This practice effectively exacerbates other existing inequalities between these groups.