The digital divide is leaving millions of Americans behind — and corporate telecom monopolies are only making the problem worse.
A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance sheds light on this under-reported problem. ILSR’s report finds that at a time when access to high-quality broadband is more important than ever, monopoly control of this essential public infrastructure is leaving many Americans — particularly people in rural communities and communities of color — disconnected, underserved, or, at best, paying too much for substandard service.
While monopoly telecoms continue to dominate the market and provide substandard service, our report finds that community-scaled Internet service providers are far more effective at delivering fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access.
The report is the latest in a series from ILSR focused on fighting monopoly power throughout several sectors of our economy, including Banking, Electricity, Food and Farming, Pharmacy, Waste and Recycling, and Small Business.
Called “How Telecom Monopolies are Blocking Better Internet Access, and What We Can Do About It,” the report recommends a range of policy actions for improving broadband at the local level, including:
- Removing state laws that discourage or prevent local governments from building or partnering for broadband networks.
- Supporting a diverse range of locally-based solutions, including municipal broadband networks, partnerships between communities and locally-owned companies, and telephone and electric cooperatives expanding into broadband service.
- Establishing state broadband grant programs and issuing state bonds to help localities build broadband infrastructure.
ILSR’s full series on fighting monopoly power throughout other sectors of the economy can be found here.
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