Community-Based Broadband Solution

Community-Based Broadband Solution : The Benefits of Competition and Choice for Community Development and Highspeed Internet Access

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Description

Affordable, reliable access to high speed broadband is critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. Upgrading to higher-speed broadband lets consumers use the Internet in new ways, increases the productivity of American individuals and businesses, and drives innovation throughout the digital ecosystem. As this report describes, while the private sector has made investments to dramatically expand broadband access in the U.S., challenges still remain. Many markets remain unserved or underserved. Others do not benefit from the kind of competition that drives down costs and improves quality. To help fill the void, hundreds of towns and cities around the country have developed their own locally-owned networks. This report describes the benefits of higher-speed broadband access, the current challenges facing the market, and the benefits of competition - including competition from community broadband networks. Since President Obama took office, the United States has significantly expanded its broadband network and increased access. Investments from the federal government have helped deploy or upgrade more than 78,000 miles of network infrastructure since 2009, and more than 45 million Americans have adopted broadband Internet during the President's time in office. Today, more than 90 percent of Americans can access the Internet on a wired line and 98% by either wired or wireless connection. Competitive markets have helped drive expansion in telecommunications services as strong infrastructure investments and falling prices have opened up a wide range of new communications products and services. Where there is strong competition in broadband markets today, it drives similar improvements. Unfortunately, competition does not extend into every market and its benefits are not evenly distributed. While the U.S. has an extensive network "backbone" of middle-mile connections (long, intra- or interstate physical fiber or cable network connections) with the capacity to offer high-speed Internet to a large majority of Americans, many consumers lack access to the critical "last-mile" (the last legs of the physical network that connect homes and businesses to the broader system), especially in rural areas. It is these last-mile connections that make higher speeds possible. For example, 94 percent of Americans in urban areas can purchase a 25 Mbps (megabit per second) connection, but only 51 percent of the rural population has access to Internet at that speed. Competition has also been slow to emerge at higher speeds. Nearly forty percent of American households either cannot purchase a fixed 10 Mbps connection (i.e. a wired, land-based connection), or they must buy it from a single provider. And three out of four Americans do not have a choice between providers for Internet at 25 Mbps, the speed increasingly recognized as a baseline to get the full benefits of Internet access. Without strong competition, providers can (and do) raise prices, delay investments, and provide sub-par quality of service. When faced with limited or nonexistent alternatives, consumers lack negotiating power and are forced to rely on whatever options are available. In these situations, the role of good public policy can and should be to foster competition and increase consumer choice. At the federal level, the government has already taken active steps to support broadband, committing billions of dollars to deploy middle-mile and last-mile infrastructure, and to ensure that our public schools and libraries have high speed broadband connections.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 38 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 2.29mm | 149.68g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1507579837
  • 9781507579831