This morning at 11:30 the Communications &Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee will host a hearing on Broadband Equity. https://republicans-energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/broadband-equity-addressing-disparities-in-access-and-affordability/
Both sides of the aisle want to close the #digitaldivide
particularly in these unprecedented times, but it is important to do so in a way that builds on America's strong internet infrastructure and encourages continued investment & innovation. https://www.americanactionforum.org/insight/how-policymakers-can-help-bridge-the-digital-divide-in-2021/
For example the Biden administration's recent American Jobs Plan focuses on municipal broadband & alludes to potential price controls. This could deter current private investment & innovative solutions to the problem of the digital divide https://www.americanactionforum.org/insight/the-american-jobs-plan-is-the-wrong-solution-to-the-digital-divide/
Better solutions are to work with the private sector to identify currently underserved areas, consider and remove barriers to pursue innovative solutions for hard to reach areas, and also work on questions of adoption and digital literacy as well as access
The hearing has begun and @RepAnnaEshoo
begins by singing the praises of community (ie municipal) broadband. But studies from @itif
have found these networks do not approve affordability and often are the same or more costly to consumers
talks about the need to fully understand why people aren't adopting broadband and also references all the progress that has always been made. He gives a nice shoutout to the excellent work done by @techpolicyinst
on the issue.
I'd also like to reference @techpolicyinst
's paper by @sarahecon
on the ways that municipal broadband fails to improve subscription growth or employment https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3426247
points out the importance of broadband particularly during the pandemic. Emphasize the need for better mapping to target and discusses the innovation and investment that has enabled American broadband to withstand the pandemic.
Last spring @JamesCz19
and I did a podcast on what we can learn from the differences in the European and American approaches and resulting infrastructure https://podbay.fm/p/underscored-podcast/e/1586795680
also emphasizes that this is a bipartisan issues and the need to continue approaches that yield investment and innovation rather than costly government run programs that would not yield the results
Also this is me right now during @cathymcmorris
's opening statement right now
starts expert testimony. Discusses that the #digitaldivide
is actually several gaps including the availability gap, adoption gap, and utilization gap and how these gaps are not just rural problems.
discusses that 90% have internet access and that the focus should be on the 10% not to get distracted and undertake broader reform than needed. Discusses use of appropriate subsidies to those truly unserved or unable to afford.
also discusses price is not the main reason for lack of adoption and that there is need for further investigation for the reason behind some divides.
discusses the positive impact of broadband on opportunities & the need to ensure that all communities have such opportunities. Discusses the need to address adoption &access & to consider new models. Says current strategies have failed too many communities.
argues in favor of municipal broadband. Earlier in this thread I posted a few links on the failures of these networks currently that can even have a negative impact. I'll also add this recent @techpolicyinst
on competition and adoption https://techpolicyinstitute.org/policy_paper/does-competition-between-cable-and-fiber-increase-adoption/
argues the need for a long term solution for low income households including reforming USF, argues for including municipal networks as a form of competiton, and empowering the FCC to respond to concerns about "digital redlining"
Unfortunately, I will not be able to live tweet the rest of this hearing, but I've tried to provide links in this thread for those interested in looking into innovation friendly solutions for closing the digital divide.
Also, looks like @cgousu
is live tweeting the hearing for anyone looking for a live tweet as I bow out now
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.