Posted on March 31, 2010

Broadband Rules Target Black Families

Harry Alford, Enquirer (Cincinnati), March 31, 2010

{snip}. America needs another injection of economic stimulus to lift our economy back off the mat and get it back into fighting shape.

Thankfully, President Barack Obama has backed broadband. As part of his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Obama directed the federal government to invest $7.2 billion in bringing high-speed Internet access to Americans from the inner city to the family farm and everywhere in between.

We need this new investment in broadband because less than half of African-Americans homes currently subscribe, a fact that puts us at a severe disadvantage in terms of our ability to find and keep a job, control our own health care choices and educate our children. But if broadband were universal, one leading think tank estimates it could add $500 billion of economic activity every year–not to mention 1.2 million new jobs–all while empowering our families.

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Under the banner of “Internet openness,” some are proposing new regulations that threaten to increase the cost of broadband service at exactly the wrong time for our economy. {snip}

So what’s really going on? Just like we’ve seen again and again, a very powerful and influential group of companies is trying to play the American people in order to line their own pockets. It will cost money to ensure that the Internet can continue to offer an increasingly broad range of services in the coming years, as much as $350 billion. Someone will have to pay for this massive upgrade. But if the wealthy Internet companies get their way, they will commandeer the regulations to insulate them from paying any share of the improvements on which their profits depend. Instead, these special interests want to shift the costs onto consumers entirely.

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